Someone in the US has a heart attack every 40 seconds, and heart disease is responsible for one fourth of deaths in the US every year. Electrophysiology is a subspecialty to treat irregular heart rhythms. Let’s discover how electrophysiology transformed heart rhythm disorder care.
What Are Arrhythmias?
Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms caused by problems in the heart. They occur when the electrical impulses coordinating your heartbeat don’t function properly. It can lead to a heart that beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly.
Arrhythmias can feel like your heart is racing sometimes, and it can be nothing to worry about. Other arrhythmias may cause more serious problems and become life threatening.
An electrophysiologist is a specialist that tests and treats arrhythmias. They examine your heart’s electrical system which sends signals through your body to regulate your heart rate and rhythm.
Heart Problems Treated By An Electrophysiologist
There are several common heart conditions that electrophysiologists treat:
- Bradycardia is a heartbeat that is too slow.
- Tachycardia is a heartbeat that is too fast.
- Atrial Fibrillation is a fluttering or quivering heartbeat.
- Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating.
The electrophysiologist will test the electrical activity of your heart in order to locate what is causing the arrhythmia.
A common treatment is cardiac ablation, which uses hot or cold energy to correct your heart rhythm problems. These electrical impulses create scar tissues in order to block inconsistent signals.
Two Main Advances That Transformed Heart Rhythm Disorder Care
Over the years this subspecialty has advanced allowing electrophysiologists to treat irregular heart rhythm with an ablation procedure, implanting a device, or prescribing medications to manage the arrhythmia.
- We have gone from open heart surgery and staying in the hospital for days to having an outpatient procedure taking only 3-4 hours.
- The development of automatic implantable defibrillator, or AID, performed much like a pacemaker and placed under the shoulder in an outpatient procedure.
A patient who has arrhythmia, someone who faints suddenly known as syncope, or someone at risk for sudden cardiac arrest could all benefit from an electrophysiology study.