What is cardiac arrhythmia?
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We understand how bothersome cardiac arrhythmias - problems related to the heart’s electrical system - can be. Yet, more than merely a nuisance, cardiac arrhythmias can put you at greater risk for stroke and sudden death. That’s why it’s important to find an experienced electrophysiologist who understands your cardiac arrhythmia and can offer you the best available treatment options.
What is electrophysiology?
Electrophysiology is the study of electrical disorders of the heart, such as these arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation (AFib). We examine the heart’s electrical signals to determine the cause of an abnormal heart rhythm.
At the Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) our board-certified electrophysiologists are regional leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. They are committed to bringing you the latest, most innovative treatment approaches, balancing technical expertise with an unwavering commitment to patient-centered care. Working in close coordination with your cardiologist and a multidisciplinary team of heart specialists, they’ll determine the cause of your arrhythmia and develop a targeted treatment plan that’s designed to alleviate your symptoms, decrease your risk of stroke and sudden cardiac death, and improve your quality of life.
You’re assured to receive individualized attention at every phase of care, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery, so that we can meet your every need and concern and help you return to your normal activities as quickly as possible.
Why Choose Us
- We’re the regional leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation, offering a full spectrum of treatment options including radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation and the convergent procedure.
- Stamford Hospital became the first in Connecticut to implement the WATCHMAN™ device, a permanent implant that reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrilation, eliminating the need for and long-term risk of blood thinners.
- We’re the only hospital in the region that offers cryoablation, a non-surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation.
- We were the first hospital in Connecticut to perform cryoballoon ablation, an innovative treatment for atrial fibrillation.
- The electrophysiology team consists of our board-certified electrophysiologists and a dedicated staff including full-time nurse practitioners, an electrophysiology (EP) coordinator, dedicated trained EP technicians and EP nurses.
- Our new electrophysiology lab is replete with cutting-edge equipment in a spacious suite that permits the seamless integration of technologies in real time, which helps to improve your diagnosis and to better guide your treatment.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG): Measures the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat.
- Electrophysiology (EP) study: Examines the heart’s electrical signals to determine the cause of an abnormal heart rhythm. During an EP study, thin, flexible wires (catheters) are inserted into the large veins of the leg and positioned carefully within the heart. The electrophysiologist may introduce medication or electrical pacing through the catheters to briefly start the arrhythmia in order to determine its source in the heart. An EP study is usually performed in conjunction with catheter ablation to treat the arrhythmia.
- Holter and event monitoring: Portable EKG monitors that can diagnose arrhythmias that come and go, worn during normal activities over a period ranging from 24 hours to 4 weeks depending on the frequency of symptoms.
- Implantable event recorder (loop recorder): A small device that is implanted in a short outpatient procedure under the skin in the chest to detect abnormal heart rhythms that occur very rarely. The battery lasts for up to 3 years. For some patients, an implantable event recorder can be very useful in the detection of infrequent but concerning arrhythmias.
- Permanent implant (WATCHMAN™): For those with atrial fibrillation that isn't caused by heart valve problems, the WATCHMAN implant might be an option if you need an alternative to blood thinners. The procedure is a one-time occurrence that may also reduce the risk of stroke.
- Tilt table test: Used to determine the cause of fainting episodes due to an abnormal drop in blood pressure and heart rate. In this test, the patient lies down on a table that moves from a lying down to an upright position while the patient’s symptoms, heart rate, EKG reading and blood pressure are monitored.
We’re committed to bringing patients the latest, innovative treatment approaches to complex arrhythmias:
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT): Otherwise known as biventricular pacing, CRT is for patients with a weak heart and a left bundle branch block, a disease in the wiring of the ventricle that causes a delay in the electricity from one wall of the heart to the other and results in the walls of the heart to beat out of synch. CRT is provided with either a special type of pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). It helps the heart contract more efficiently, thereby helping to improve heart function and symptoms.
- Catheter ablation: A non-surgical technique that destroys small areas of heart tissue that are responsible for an abnormal heart rhythm. Catheter ablation is used to treat atrial fibrillation for people who have not achieved symptom relief with medicine.
- Cryoballoon ablation: An innovative treatment for atrial fibrillation that uses a balloon catheter and extreme cold to destroy or damage tissue that is causing the arrhythmia.
- Electrical cardioversion: A procedure in which a low-voltage electrical current is administered to the heart to restore normal (sinus) heart rhythm. Cardioversion is commonly used to treat arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
- Hybrid ablation (also known as the “convergent” procedure): A combination of a minimally surgical and catheter ablation approach to treat atrial fibrillation. As with catheter ablation, hybrid ablation is used to treat atrial fibrillation for people who have not achieved symptom relief with medicine.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation: An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that is implanted in a similar fashion to a pacemaker. ICD continuously monitors the heart rhythm and delivers an electrical shock to the heart when it identifies a very fast, abnormal heartbeat, thereby restoring the heart’s normal rhythm. ICD is often used to treat severe arrhythmias including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
- LARIAT technique for left atrial appendage closure.
- Medtronic LINQ injectable loop recorder: An implantable cardiac monitor that records the heart’s rate and rhythm at the time of an unexplained heart episode to determine if it is related to a heart rhythm problem.
- Pacemaker implantation: A pacemaker is a small device inserted just under the skin in the chest to monitor the heart’s electrical system and transmits a small electrical impulse to generate a heartbeat when needed. Pacemakers are used to treat symptomatic bradyarrhythmias (slow heart rhythms) due to sinus node dysfunction and heart block.
- Subcutaneous ICD implantation: A defibrillator that is implanted under the skin and provides an electric shock to the heart for the treatment of an abnormally rapid heartbeat that originates from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricular tachyarrhythmias).