When the electrical pulses that control your heartbeat become irregular, it can cause an arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disorder. While some abnormal heart rhythms are harmless, others can lead to serious problems such as stroke, fainting and more.
CommonSpirit Health offers many advanced treatments that can help in cases that medication is not an effective or tolerated treatment. With advanced treatments including cardiac ablation and implantable devices, we continue to go above and beyond, bringing you the latest innovations in heart care.
Find a Cardiac Electrophysiologist near you
CommonSpirit Health connects you with a network of the region’s best cardiologists who specialize in electrophysiology and heart rhythm disorders.
Some of the more common types of arrhythmias include:
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib): An irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers of the heart, resulting in blood not being completely pumped out of the upper chambers of the heart.
- Atrial flutter: A condition similar to AFib. While AFib is characterized by a rapid, irregular heartbeat, atrial flutter makes the heart beat fast but regularly
- Atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT): A type of abnormally fast heart rhythm where electrical impulses reenter an electrical conduction system in the top of the heart
- Heart block or atrioventricular block: An abnormally slow heartbeat caused by a blockage of electrical impulses between the top and bottom of the heart
- Multifocal atrial tachycardia: A rapid heartbeat caused by “competing” electrical signals in the upper heart.
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia: A racing heartbeat caused by an extra electrical pathway in the heart.
- Sick sinus syndrome: A group of abnormal rhythms caused by malfunction of the sinus node in the heart.
- Ventricular fibrillation: The lower chambers of the heart quiver instead of beating correctly, keeping the heart from pumping blood effectively.
- Ventricular tachycardia: A fast but regular rhythm in the lower heart. Can cause ventricular fibrillation.
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: An extra electrical pathway between to upper heart and lower heart, usually present at birth, causes a rapid heartbeat.
Our advanced electrophysiology labs use diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of your arrhythmia. If medication is not enough to treat the cause, there are a number of other possible treatment options. Often a multiple heart rhythm treatments or devices can be employed to best treat an individual condition. Treatment options at CommonSpirit Health facilities include:
Cardiac ablation can be used to treat individuals who have Afib or abnormal heart rhythms and who have not had success or effective results from medication.
During a cardiac ablation procedure, a catheter is positioned inside the heart near the pulmonary veins. Energy is applied to cauterize the heart tissue at the source of the heart rhythm disorder. As a result, the abnormal electrical signals can no longer reach the rest of the heart and trigger heart rhythm disorders.
There are different types of cardiac ablation techniques:
- Radiofrequency ablation. With this procedure, a medium frequency alternating current is used to ablate the electrical conduction system of the heart. The procedure can typically be done under light sedation.
- Cardiac balloon cryoablation. Arctic Front® Cryoballoon ablation. In this procedure, a refrigerant is delivered through a catheter to a small balloon. This freezes the tissue instead of cauterizing it to disable unwanted electrical signals.
How do I know the right type of ablation for my condition?
Your cardiac electrophysiologist will assess your individual condition and test results to make the best recommendation for your condition.
Do all cardiac electrophysiologists offer the same procedures?
Not all providers or facilities offer advanced procedures. CommonSpirit Health offers a number of hospitals with advanced capabilities when it comes to ablation techniques including one of the first hospitals in the region to offer specialize in cardiac balloon cryoablation.
The WATCHMAN device is for those with Afib who are at an increased risk of stroke, and need an alternative to blood thinners. The Watchman or Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device can prevent stroke and reduce or eliminate the need for blood thinners.
A pacemaker is for patients who suffer from a slow or a fast heartbeat, implantable devices can help keep the heartbeat regular. Slow heartbeats are often treated with pacemakers. Fast, dangerous heartbeats, which may lead to cardiac arrest, can be treated with an implantable pacemaker.
Some patients with arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders may be eligible for remote monitoring. A remote monitoring device can be externally worn or implanted, and can be inspected remotely by internet. This allows for information about a patient’s heart health to be shared with their doctors without having to make a visit. In a cardiac event occurs the device alerts the physician so a patient can receive proper care in a timely manner.