Rhythm Disorders (Electrophysiology)
The clinical cardiac electrophysiology program at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital offers extensive non-invasive and invasive treatments for patients with cardiac arrhythmias related to cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, heart failure or hereditary conditions. When needed, patients may be monitored with outpatient cardiac implantable devices such as defibrillators and pacemakers. We perform more than 500 complex ablations in central Indiana each year, including atrial fibrillation procedures.
To be referred to an electrophysiologist for arrhythmia treatment, please call 800-777-7775.
Electrophysiologists (EPs) are considered the “electricians” of the heart. They work with the electrical pathways that travel through the heart to make the heartbeat and ensure that the heart keeps beating. Our physicians have comprehensive and exceptional clinical skills in all areas of clinical electrophysiology.
What is Arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rate. When an arrhythmia is present, your heart may beat too slow, too fast, or irregularly. You might describe the feeling as heavy in your chest or palpitations. An arrhythmia may come and go or be present all the time. Other symptoms of arrhythmia might include:
- Shortness of breath
- Skipping beats, changes in pattern of the pulse
- Chest pain or tightness in the chest
Common types of arrhythmia include atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation.
Testing for Arrhythmia
Tests that might be ordered to diagnose arrhythmia include an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiography (echo), transesophageal echo (TEE), heart stress test, Holter event monitoring, tilt table testing or electrophysiology study (EPS).
Treatment Options for Arrhythmia
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device implanted in patients who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death due to rapid heartbeat (ventricular tachycardia) or arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation). ICDs monitor fast and slow heart beats. They stop dangerous, fast heart rhythms, and can also function as a pacemaker to prevent the heart from beating too slow. Community Health Network uses FDA-approved implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) that are MRI compatible as its standard of care across the network. Patients, like Robyn C., with this FDA-approved ICD with certain lead configuration can safely have an MRI.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)
CRT, also known as biventricular pacing, is a therapy for patients with congestive heart failure. In CRT, a special cardiac pacemaker helps synchronize the left and right ventricles of the heart to make them contract at the same time, restoring the heart’s proper mechanical sequence. This helps the heart to work more efficiently and improve the symptoms of heart failure. Used in combination with medical therapy, CRT plays an important role in heart failure management and helps improve quality of life.
To treat arrhythmias, your doctor may also recommend a catheter ablation procedure – an effective, low-risk treatment for abnormal rapid heart rhythms. Catheter ablation treats fast or rapid heartbeats or heart rhythms (tachycardia) with a high rate of success. The catheter ablation procedure is done in the EP lab in the hospital. Catheter ablation removes the abnormal circuits or tissues that start and maintain abnormal, fast heart rhythms. Although there are several forms of catheter ablation, the most commonly used is radiofrequency ablation, or RFA.