Alcohol septal ablation is an innovative technique offered at NewYork-Presbyterian to treat cardiomyopathy by reducing the obstruction and improving blood flow out of the heart.
During alcohol septal ablation, a balloon catheter is inserted into the patient's groin and is threaded toward the heart. With echocardiographic and/or fluoroscopic guidance, the catheter is guided to the small artery that supplies the interventricular septum.
A small amount of pure alcohol is introduced into the vessel. This results in carefully controlled damage to that part of the abnormally thickened septum. The septum becomes replaced by a thinner wall of scar tissue that reduces the obstruction and improves the overall function of the heart. Many patients feel immediate improvement of their symptoms, and most continue to improve for many months afterward.