One of the truly amazing features of the heart is the sophisticated electrical system that initiates and coordinates the contractions that move blood through the chambers of the heart and circulate throughout the body.
When this intricate system malfunctions, a person can experience a condition known as an arrhythmia. This can cause a wide range of effects, including chest pain, dizziness, palpitations and, on occasion, even death. It can feel like the heart is beating too slowly, too fast or like it is missing beats.
GAMC's heart specialists use a wide array of options to diagnose and treat arrhythmia, including:
- Electrophysiology Study (EPS)
Uses small catheters, called pacing wires, to safely induce and visualize an arrhythmia in a patient so that physicians can most effectively treat the presenting condition.
- Cardiac Ablation
Treats arrhythmia by threading a catheter through the groin or neck to the heart to deliver a pulse of energy to safely destroy abnormal cardiac electrical pathways. Biventricular pacing targets both the upper and lower chambers of the heart, whereas conventional pacemakers work only in the lower chamber. Biventricular pacing provides an additional sense of security for patients, such as those with heart failure, whose heart muscle is too weak to work reliably, thus making the person susceptible to sudden death.
- Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD)
Implanted just below the collarbone or in the abdomen during a relatively brief procedure, this device delivers an electric shock to stabilize the heart's rhythm whenever a built-in sensor detects a dangerous arrhythmia.
- Pacemaker/AICD Combo
Provides the double benefit of ongoing pacing with the ability to administer a potentially lifesaving electrical shock if an abnormal heart beat is detected.
For more information on these or other services that are part of the GAMC Heart and Vascular Institute, call 818-409-8100 or return to the Heart and Vascular homepage.
Click here to download our Health Connections brochure entitled, "Understanding Electrophysiology".