Electrophysiology

An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist specially trained in the management of the electrical aspects of the heart. These specialists test for, diagnose and treat irregular heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias.

At times individuals can have an abnormal heart beat and not even know it. Arrhythmias are usually discovered as a result of one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluttering in the chest or neck
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Cardiac arrest

If you experience a problem related to an abnormal heart rhythm, your physician may refer you to an electrophysiologist to ensure accurate diagnosis and access to the best options for treatment.

Some of the conditions treated include:

Treatments include:

Convergent Procedure

The convergent procedure may be an option if prescription drugs and ablations have not controlled heart rhythm disorders. The procedure is a convergence of technology and specialties involving an electrophysiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon working together. Through a small incision the cardiothoracic surgeon uses radiofrequency ablation (extreme heat) to create a pattern on the outside of the heart to block the irregular electrical signals. The electrophysiologist then uses a catheter to fill in any gaps in the ablation pattern and tests to confirm all of the abnormal electrical impulses are resolved. Patients are generally hospitalized for 48 to 72 hours following the procedure and return to normal activity quickly.  

Cryoablation

Cryoablation is a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure used to correct arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) by freezing tissue or heart pathways that interfere with the heart's normal distribution of electrical impulses that control the heart's beating.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)

An ICD is a battery-powered device that is implanted under the skin during a minor surgical procedure. It is usually located below the collarbone and is the size of a pocket watch. Thin wires connect the device to the heart. An ICD monitors heart rhythms. If abnormal heart rhythms occur, an electric shock is delivered to restore a normal heart beat. Many ICDs also function as pacemakers and can send electrical signals to the heart in the event of a slow heartbeat. In addition, ICDs record and store the heart’s electrical patterns, helping electrophysiologists plan future treatment.

Pacemakers

A pacemaker is a battery-powered device that is implanted under the skin of the chest during a minor surgical procedure. It is usually located below the collarbone. Thin wires connect the device to the heart. If the heart beats too slowly or too fast, electrical pulses are delivered to the heart to prompt it to beat at a normal rate. Biventricular pacemakers are used to help the lower chambers of the heart beat at the same time.

Prescription drugs

Treatment of irregular heart rhythms often begins with medication. Prescription drugs can help prevent and control arrhythmias and address related heart conditions. Anticlotting agents may also be used to reduce the risk of the formation of blood clots and stroke.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure that uses radiofrequency energy (heat) to destroy abnormal electrical pathways in heart tissue. The ablation is performed by threading an energy-emitting probe into the heart through a catheter in the vein.

 

ProHealth Heart & Vascular Care offers a wide array of proven treatment options for heart rhythm disorders and our electrophysiologists work closely with your primary care physician or cardiologist to coordinate your care to get you feeling your best. Learn more about our services by calling 262-928-8880.

Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation

The ProHealth electrophysiology team offers minimally invasive options for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

View video

Learn more about our electrophysiologists by watching their profile videos.

View physicians