Cardiac Rhythm Management (Electrophysiology)
Treating Heart Rhythm Disorders
This major service provides diagnosis and treatment for disorders that affect the heart's electrical system and cause rhythm problems. Heart rhythm disorders are managed in a number of ways, including medications, pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, invasive electrophysiologic procedures and biventricular pacemakers. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center’s electrophysiology program uses sophisticated computer technology with advanced 3-D mapping. It is one of only a few such systems in Washington state.
During ablation, a catheter delivers radio frequency energy to the area of the heart that is causing an abnormal rhythm. This area, which is quite small, is cauterized which stops abnormal rhythm. Ablation has more than a 90 percent success rate, meaning that patients no longer have to take medication or have follow-up treatments for their abnormal rhythms. Click here to learn more about ablation for atrial fibrillation.
CryoablationThis is the latest in ablation treatment for atrial fibrillation. Like traditional ablation, it is a minimally invasive one day procedure. The difference is that cryoablation uses cold to disrupt the arrhythmia. For the right patient, cryoablation can be more effective and minimize other possible side effects of radio frequency ablation.
This technology is used to treat patients who have congestive heart failure. In a normal heart, the regions of the left ventricle pump in sync. The electrical system can be impaired enough to make the regions of the left ventricle pump out of sync in a person with congestive heart failure, so not enough blood gets pumped to the body, which intensifies heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. To remedy this, physicians resynchronize the timing of the electrical impulses in the heart with biventricular pacemakers that help the regions of the left ventricle pump in time to increase efficiency of contraction.
A defibrillator device is implanted to monitor the regularity of the heartbeat and deliver an electric shock should the heart begin fibrillation (fast or slow twitching of cardiac muscle fibers).
A pacemaker is an electrical system that reads and delivers cardiac electrical impulses. By "reading" these signals, the pacemaker is able to monitor the heart's activity and respond appropriately. A pacemaker helps to pace the heart when the natural rate is too slow (bradycardia) to pump enough blood to the body.
Ongoing Rhythm Management Care
- Arrhythmia Clinic
- Heart Failure Program
- Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) patient support group
- Event monitors, including 24 and 48 hour Holter monitors
- Implantable loop recorders