Rhythm Management Center
Welcome to the Rhythm Management Center
We offer world-class treatment of abnormal heart rhythms - close to home!
What is electrophysiology?
Electrophysiology involves the heart's electrical system. The electrical system of the heart includes nerve fibers and specialized cells that conduct electricity to all of the cells within the heart to initiate a heartbeat. When there is a problem with the electrical system of the heart, there are several different approaches available for treatment, including pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac ablation.
Some of the conduction disturbances (abnormal heart rhythms) that our board-certified electrophysiologists treat include atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and bradycardia due to heart block.
Your doctor will explain the specific cardiac condition that has been found and choose what approach best fits your specific patient situation and direct your care as appropriate for your condition.
A pacemaker is a device that can emit electrical impulses to your heart muscle through leads to maintain a normal heart rate. Your doctor will decide which type is most appropriate for you based on your specific heart condition. When the electrical activity of the heart is interrupted, the heart may not beat normally. When this happens, changes in the heart rate or rhythm occur. Pacemakers are used to treat slow heart rates.
The Watchman Device is a small implant placed in the heart that reduces the risk of stroke in patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). Patients with AFib are at an increased risk of a stroke, this is mainly due to blood clots forming in a small chamber in the top of the heart - known as the left atrial appendage.
After the surgery is done you will continue to take warfarin (Coumadin) for the next 30 to 45 days, at which you will have a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) as well. If the (TEE) shows that the device is in a good position then you will be able to stop taking warfarin (Coumadin).
The WATCHMAN procedure usually takes an hour or less to perform and patients usually spend one night in the hospital. Your cardiologist will discuss your individual post-procedure plans with you when you are discharged, but most people will return to their normal routines within a week or two.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
An Implantable cardioverter defibrillator an implantable device that monitors your heart rate and rhythm. If the device detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it is capable of delivering energy to your heart muscle. The energy delivered can convert the abnormal rhythm into a normal, more desirable rhythm. The ICD consists of two parts: the leads and the generator.
The leads monitor the heart rate and rhythm, deliver energy, and pace the heart if necessary.
Inside the generator, you will find the battery and a tiny computer. The battery holds energy until it is needed. The tiny computer is used to hold information about your heart that is received through the leads and to determine if energy needs to be delivered to the heart.
Just like pacemakers, there are different types of defibrillators;
- A single chamber ICD consists of a lead placed in the right ventricle.
- A dual chamber ICD includes two leads placed in the right atrium and right ventricle.
- And finally a biventricular ICD consists of leads in the right atrium, right ventricle, and left ventricle. The technique of including three leads can assist the heart to beat in a more synchronized way and is generally used for patients with heart failure.
An ICD can identify an abnormal heart rhythm and determine what the heart needs to restore a normal heart rhythm. Your doctor programs the ICD to best fit the needs of your particular condition.
Beyond pacemakers and defibrillators, there is another approach that can be helpful to treat an abnormal heart rhythm. Catheter ablations can be an option for some patients that experience abnormal heart rhythms. Your physician will inform you if cardiac ablation is an option for your specific condition.
In the normal heart, the electricity travels in a regular, measured pattern. A short circuit in this regular pattern can cause the heart's electricity to be interrupted. The electrical flow can be blocked or travel the same pathway repeatedly. During an ablation, the physician inserts catheters into the heart. The catheters have electrodes on the ends of them capable of recording information about the electrical signals your heart produces. A machine is used to deliver energy through one of the catheters to the areas in the heart that are causing the abnormal heart rhythm to occur.
Ablation is sometimes used to treat:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Atrial Flutter
- Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
- Ventricular Tachycardia
The success rate varies for each kind of ablation procedure. There are several variables that can affect the success of the procedure, such as other medical diagnoses that you have. Your physician will discuss the success rate you can expect for your type of ablation procedure at your consultation appointment.
- Ambulatory Monitoring
- Biventricular Pacemaker
- Catheter Ablation
- Electrophysiology Study
- Head Upright Tilt Test
- Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
- Implantable Loop Recorder
- Pacemaker Implant
For more information
For more information about electrophysiology or EP studies, call (765) 983-3255.