Heart Rhythm

Our Heart Rhythm Center features highly experienced physicians who are at the forefront of delivering nationally recognized cardiac care. Our physicians have successfully performed more than 500 Atrial Fibrillation Ablations and have inserted thousands of pacemakers. For more than 25 years, our Heart Center electrophysiologists and state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab have been leading providers of arrhythmia care.

Procedures in our Heart Rhythm Center include:

Electrophysiology Studies

Electrophysiology studies are performed to discover arrhythmias. During the procedure, catheters are placed in peripheral veins or arteries and moved to the heart. They record cardiac electrical signals and determine the spread of the electrical impulses occurring with each beat to identify conduction defects and/or arrhythmia pathways. The results of the electrophysiology study will often permit our physicians to successfully perform ablations to cure the heart rhythm problems described below.

Accessory Pathway Ablations

These nonsurgical procedures are used to treat some types of rapid heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and atrial tachycardia. It is most often used to treat supraventricular tachyarrhythmias. These are rapid, uncoordinated heartbeats starting in the heart’s upper chambers (atria) or middle region (AV node or the very beginning portion of the heart’s electrical system). A physician guides a catheter with an electrode at its tip to the area of heart muscle where the damaged site is located. Then a mild, painless radiofrequency energy (similar to microwave heat) is transmitted to the site of the pathway. Heart muscle cells in a very small area (about 1/5 of an inch) die and stop conducting the extra impulses that caused the rapid heartbeats.

Atrial Fibrillation Ablations

Atrial fibrillation causes an irregular heart rate or pulse caused by chaotic or unorganized electrical activity in the upper chambers of the heart. During an ablation, a catheter is positioned inside the heart. Radio energy is applied to the tip of the catheter to cauterize (ablate) heart tissue around the pulmonary veins. Abnormal electrical signals from the pulmonary veins can then no longer reach the rest of the heart to trigger the atrial fibrillation.

Pacemaker Insertion

A pacemaker is a small device inserted into either the chest or abdomen to control heart rhythms. It uses electrical pulses to prompt regular heartbeats. Pacemakers are used to treat arrhythmias, which can cause the heart to beat too slow or with an irregular rhythm, resulting in not enough blood being pumped to the body.

A subclavian approach is the most common method of pacemaker insertion. Local anesthetic is given to numb the area and an incision is made where the leads and pacemaker are inserted. The leads are inserted into a vein and guided to the heart, where they attach to the muscle. The other end is placed in a pocket of skin in the upper chest.

Defibrillator (ICD) Insertion

Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are life-threatening heart rhythms that cause the heart to beat very fast. These conditions can be fatal if not treated immediately. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that constantly monitors your heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it will try to pace the heart out of that rhythm or deliver an energy shock to the heart muscle. This causes the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again.

Our Heart Rhythm Center voluntarily participates in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD registry, assuring patients that we provide evidence-based cardiovascular care, improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare costs.

Resynchronization Therapy (With Either a Pacemaker or Defibrillator)

A biventricular pacemaker or defibrillator can be implanted to keep the left and right ventricles pumping together by sending small electrical impulses through the leads. When a patient suffers from congestive heart failure, often the right and left ventricles are not pumping together, and often the left ventricle is unable to pump enough blood to the body. This can lead to shortness of breath, dry cough, swelling in the ankles and legs, weight gain, increased urination, fatigue and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Use of a pacemaker or defibrillator has been shown to improve symptoms of heart failure and the overall quality of life in patients with severe symptoms that can’t be controlled by medicine.

Our Heart Rhythm Center also provides:

  • ICD Insertion
  • Loop Recorder Insertion
  • 3-D Mapping