When your heart functions properly, it maintains a steady rhythm of beats. However, some patients experience irregularities, also known as arrhythmias, in the heart’s electrical conduction system, which can present a serious risk to your health. If you are experiencing symptoms of arrhythmia, the cardiac electrophysiology team at Richmond University Medical Center can utilize a variety of advanced techniques to diagnose and treat this condition. As Staten Island’s premier source for cardiac care, you can rest assured you will have access to the latest technologies with every procedure.
Receiving a Diagnosis
To diagnose an arrhythmia or gain more insight into your specific condition, our team will perform an electrophysiology study at our cardiac catheterization laboratory. This procedure creates a comprehensive map of your heart and allows the discovery of irregularities. An electrophysiologist will thread thin wires tipped with electrodes through a catheter inserted in your blood vessels to measure the electrical impulses running through the heart. You will receive a sedative and local anesthetic during this testing to prevent any discomfort.
The results of this study set the course of your treatment plan and will reveal the cause of your arrhythmia, as well as any other cardiac issues you may be at risk for. The study also helps identify which treatments are best suited to your condition to ensure you receive the right care at the right time.
Once you have received a diagnosis, there are several methods our team can employ to correct your condition. These procedures include:
- Radiofrequency Ablasion: Radiofrequency energy is used to eradicate heart tissue that causes a rapid or irregular heartbeat in this low-risk procedure. This option may be utilized when medication has not been effective.
- Insertion of an Implantable Cardioverter-Defribillator (ICD): This device is implanted underneath the skin to track your heartbeat. If your heart beats irregularly, it will send a corrective shock that gets the heart back on track. They can also help prevent cardiac arrest and in some cases serve as a pacemaker.
- Insertion of a Pacemaker: Connected to your heart through small wires, a pacemaker will send a pulse to your heart when it detects beats outside its normal rhythm, similar to an ICD. A pacemaker can be temporary or permanent, depending on your condition.
- Insertion of a Cardiac Resynchronization Biventricular Device: This is a type of pacemaker that tells the lower ventricles of your heart to contract at the same time in order to deliver the maximum amount of blood pumped from your heart.
The electrophysiology lab also offers several noninvasive procedures used for diagnosis and treatment. Noninvasive cardiac electrophysiology procedures include:
- Pharmacologic Cardioversion: Often used for people with fast heartbeats, pharmacologic cardioversion simply refers to medicine that will restore your heartbeat to a normal speed. Electrical Cardioversion: This procedure involves a doctor sending an electric shock through your heart to induce a regular heartbeat. You will be sedated during electrical cardioversion, so there is no need to worry about feeling this shock.
- Non-Invasive Programmed Stimulation of ICDs: Used after an ICD is in place, this method tests your device to make sure it works properly. After sedation, your doctor will send signals to the ICD in order to measure its reaction. He or she can make adjustments as needed.
- Upright Tilt Table Test: If you experience fainting or dizziness, a doctor may use a tilt table test to trigger your symptoms. Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored throughout in order to determine if they are causing the problem.
Get Your Heart Back on Track
It is important to seek treatment for any irregularities in your heartbeat as soon as possible. To schedule your diagnostic, therapeutic or noninvasive cardiac electrophysiology procedure, contact Richmond University Medical Center by calling (718)-818-3260 today. Be sure to mention the procedure recommended by your physician at the time of your call when requesting an appointment.
Note: Always dial 9-1-1 in the event of a medical emergency.