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Cardiac Electrophysiology

Keeping the Rhythm of Your Heart

Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute is home to one of very few cardiac electrophysiologists in Southern Arizona, which means you have access to advanced and up-to-date procedures in cardiac electrophysiology, all close to home.

Cardiac electrophysiology is the science of clarifying, diagnosing and treating the heart’s electrical activities, maintaining your heart’s rhythm.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Treatments

Pacemaker Implantation

A pacemaker is a battery-operated device that can change the speed or rhythm of a beating heart. It is about the size of a 50 cent piece, but thicker. A pacemaker is used to treat bradycardia, a condition where the heart beats too slowly.

The surgeon implants a pacemaker under the skin, usually below the left collarbone. Wires are threaded through a large vein to connect the device to the heart. The pacemaker sends electrical pulses to keep the heart beating regularly. Pacemakers work on demand, and they can be programmed to respond to your body’s needs. If it senses your heart missed a beat or is beating too slowly, it will send signals to start heartbeats. If it senses your heart is beating normally by itself, it does not send out any signals.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Implantation

An ICD is an electronic device that constantly monitors your heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle, causing it to beat in a normal rhythm.

The doctor surgically implants the defibrillator under the skin, usually below the left collarbone. A wire is threaded through a large vein to connect the device to the heart. If you had a serious episode of an abnormally fast heart rhythm or you’re at high risk for having them, you may need an ICD.

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

Patients with a weak heart muscle often have disorganized muscle function, which means the left and right chambers of the heart do not beat in unison. This further impairs the heart’s ability to perform well, resulting in shortness of breath and fatigue.

To treat this condition, wires are threaded from a pacemaker to the heart to help it beat in an organized and more efficient way. CRT is commonly performed in conjunction with defibrillator implantation.

Implantable Loop Recorder (ILR)

This small monitor is implanted just under the skin on the chest to record the heart’s electrical activity. It is a useful diagnostic tool for patients who experience symptoms such as fainting, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness or dizziness. It’s typically used when the symptoms are not frequent enough to be captured by a 24-hour or 30-day external monitor. An ILR can be used for two to three years, if necessary.

Electrophysiology Study

This procedure is used to treat heart rhythm disturbances. It is typically performed in conjunction with an electrophysiologic study and frequently with intra-cardiac echocardiography. One of the catheter tips is heated or cooled next to the area that is responsible for the heart rhythm disturbance. This eliminates its activity and helps restore normal rhythm.

Catheter Ablation

This procedure is used to treat heart rhythm disturbances and is typically performed in conjunction with an electrophysiology study. The tip of a catheter is heated or cooled next to the area of the heart that is responsible for the rhythm disturbance. This helps restore normal heart rhythm.

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