St. Luke’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Program treats cardiac arrhythmias, as well as other heart disorders associated with a high risk of sudden death.
Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. It means that your heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern. Arrythmia is caused by a disruption of your heart’s normal electrical system, which regulates your heart rate and heart rhythm. The severity of cardiac arrhythmias can vary tremendously. Most arrhythmias are completely harmless while others can be life-threatening. The cause symptoms like lightheadedness, easy fatigue and anxiety, and can lead to strokes.
Common arrythmias are:
Atrial flutter is like atrial fibrillation and starts at the top of the heart, causing it to quiver quickly and randomly.
Tachycardia is the dangerously rapid beating of the heart, more than 100 beats per minute, and affects the upper or bottom chambers and impacts the blood flow out of the heart. The most common types are ventricular tachycardia and supraventricular tachycardia. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest and stroke.
Bradycardia is an abnormally slow and disorganized heart rhythm, usually below 50 beats per minute. This results in ineffective ejection of blood out of the heart. This disorder can have no symptoms, but it can cause easy fatigue and limited ability to be physically active.
Treating Heart Arrythmias
In most cases, medication is the first line of treatment to regulate irregular heartbeats. When these don’t work, or lose effectiveness over time, pacemakers, defibrillators or other electronic stimulators will be attempted.
Finally, when the arrhythmias continue, surgery or minimally invasive procedures, called ablations, may be done to remove or interrupt the problem electrical circuits.