Our electrophysiologists — cardiologists who specialize in heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) — offer comprehensive care and the latest treatments.
A heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat — too fast, too slow, or uneven — caused by an electrical malfunction in your heart. There are different types, ranging from premature (extra) beats that often don't need treatment to serious arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), a very fast heartbeat that increases your risk for blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest. AFib is the most common serious arrhythmia.
Arrhythmia Symptoms and Diagnosis
Often, arrhythmias don’t have symptoms. You might notice your heart skipping a beat or beating faster or slower than normal. You should see your doctor if you notice serious arrhythmia symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Fainting, lightheadedness or weakness
- Shortness of breath
We use sophisticated testing to diagnose arrhythmias, including an electrocardiogram (EKG) or wearable heart monitors. We also use more advanced electrophysiology studies (EPS) and implantable heart monitoring devices to measure your heart’s electrical activity.
Nonsurgical Arrhythmia Treatments
Many types of arrhythmias don’t need surgery. Many arrhythmias are harmless, and people who have them can live healthy lives and usually don't need treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medicine that controls your heart rate or lowers your risk of blood clots (blood thinners). We educate you about heart-healthy habits, such as controlling your weight, avoiding smoking, and managing stress. Limiting alcohol and caffeine can also reduce symptoms.
We keep a close eye on your health with regular checkups. If symptoms are more noticeable or new symptoms develop, we work with interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other specialists to provide more advanced treatment.
Electrophysiology Procedures and Surgery for Arrhythmias
We use the least invasive approaches to treat heart arrhythmias. You get personal attention and a treatment plan that offers you the best possible results.
- Cardioversion. This noninvasive approach uses paddles or pads on your chest and low-energy shock to your heart to return it to normal rhythm.
- Ablation. This minimally invasive procedure uses heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) to redirect the electrical signals that cause arrhythmias.
- Pacemaker/wireless pacemaker. This implantable device sends electrical signals to regulate your heartbeat. Usually, it’s used to treat a slow heartbeat. We offer Micra™ a tiny, wireless pacemaker — the size of a large vitamin — that’s implanted directly in your heart through a small incision in your upper leg.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)/subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD). This implantable device monitors your heartbeat and delivers electrical impulses when your heart beats too fast. We offer a subcutaneous ICD that uses an electrode placed close to your heart, rather than placing leads inside your heart. The electrode can detect irregular heartbeats and deliver an electrical signal to correct heart rhythm.
- Watchman™ left atrial appendage occlusion implant. This heart implant reduces the risk of stroke in people with AFib, offering an alternative to taking blood thinners. The device closes off the left atrial appendage — an area where clots commonly form.
- Maze heart surgery/Ex-Maze hybrid surgery. Also called surgical ablation, Maze heart surgery interrupts abnormal electrical impulses that cause atrial fibrillation. Electrophysiologists and heart surgeons work as a team to perform Ex-Maze hybrid surgery — a procedure that combines a minimally invasive approach and open surgery.