Electrophysiology

When it comes to treatment for heart conditions, McLaren has many specialists. While many treat conditions with the vessels of the cardiovascular system, there are specialists who deal with the electrical system of the heart. They are cardiologists specialized in electrophysiology.

Electrophysiology is the branch of cardiology that deals with the electrical impulses, or the rhythms of your heart. If you have an abnormal heart rhythm (an arrhythmia), your heart rate is abnormally fast, slow or even irregular. “Normal” heart rates differ dependent upon your age, activity level, medications you may be taking, as well as any preexisting heart conditions that you may have.

There are many different heart rhythm conditions. McLaren specialists determine precisely what the issue is and the best treatment for you. They are able to determine why your heart beats too slow, too fast or erratically. Abnormal heart rhythms are called arrhythmias.

What is an Arrhythmia?

It is an abnormal heart rhythm; your heart may be fast, slow, or irregular.  A “normal” heart rate varies between individuals.  It is important to discuss concerns about your heart rate with your doctor.

Symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms that may be caused by arrhythmia ranging from a simple awareness of your heart beating, to lightheadedness, blurred vision, or cardiac arrest. Other symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. The symptoms that occur depend on your heart rate during the arrhythmia, your activity at the time of the arrhythmia, and the possibility of structural heart problems. Your physician will discuss your symptoms with you extensively. Testing and treatment will be determined based on your doctor’s assessment of your symptoms.

EP Studies

An Electrophysiology (EP) Study of the heart is a nonsurgical analysis of the electrical conduction system (normal or abnormal) of the heart. The test employs cardiac catheters and sophisticated computers to generate electrocardiogram (EKG) tracings and electrical measurements with exquisite precision from within the heart chambers. The EP study can be performed solely for diagnostic purposes. It also is performed to pinpoint the exact location of electrical signals (cardiac mapping) in conjunction with a therapeutic procedure called catheter ablation.An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist who has received additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders (cardiac arrhythmia).

Treatments

Treatments include medication, specialized procedures performed in a cardiac electrophysiology suite which is similar to a cath lab, and implantable devices.

Catheter ablation is a procedure used to remove a faulty electrical pathway in the heart of those who are prone to developing arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Catheter ablation may be recommended for an arrhythmia that medicine cannot control.

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