Arrhythmia & Device Clinic
At Swedish Heart and Vascular, expert electrophysiology doctors, nurses and staff pioneered many treatment approaches for heart rhythm disorders. Swedish is on the forefront of electrophysiology, which focuses on electrical activity in the heart. Our electrophysiologists, nurses and staff pioneered many treatment approaches for heart rhythm disorders.
We were the first on the West Coast to provide hybrid surgery to patients with persistent, long-term atrial fibrillation.
Whatever your heart conditions, we will take the time to diagnose it properly so we can create a treatment plan tailored to you.
Watch a video to learn more about electrophysiology at Swedish.
We provide expert, advanced treatment for heart rhythm disorders including:
- Atrial fibrillation – Irregular, uncoordinated heartbeat in the upper chambers
- Atrial flutter – An irregular, rapid heartbeat
- Bradycardia – An abnormally slow heartbeat
- Heart block – Blocked electrical signal to the heart’s upper chamber
- Palpitations – A fast-beating or pounding heartbeat
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – Irregularly fast heartbeat of the heart’s upper chambers. Watch a video to learn more about SVT.
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT) – Irregularly fast heartbeat of the heart’s lower chambers. Watch a video to learn more about VT.
For your convenience, you can have diagnosis and testing procedures for heart rhythm disorders in your doctor’s office or in our hospital. You may have additional testing or treatment based on the results.
An EP study records the electrical activity of your heart to find the cause of your heart’s rhythm disorder and determine the best treatment. We use catheters inserted through your groin to the heart. Doctors may:
- Reproduce an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Give intravenous medications
- Map the arrhythmia areas on your heart
Using a catheter and computer, specialized 3D mapping techniques locate the source of particularly complex heart rhythm problems. Physicians can identify the exact source (or sources) of the irregular heartbeat.
The Stereotaxis Navigation System uses magnets to guide catheters through the body to treat both coronary artery disease and heart rhythm disorders. Swedish was one of the first in the world to offer this advanced technology.
Dr. Darryl Wells of the Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute talks about diagnosing atrial fibrillation. Simple tests performed in your doctor’s office can diagnose atrial fibrillation or rule it out. Watch this video to learn more.
Patients with heart arrhythmias are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The primary treatment for heart rhythm disorders used to be medications. Today, long-term treatment solutions at Swedish include:
Treatment for the most common heart rhythm disorder can include blood thinners, radiofrequency ablation or electrical cardioversion, which uses an electric shock to restore heart rhythm. Video Playlist: About Atrial Fibrillation.
This implantable electronic device helps equalize left and right ventricle (lower chambers) contractions. This new therapy has been shown to improve symptoms of heart failure, such as fatigue, shortness of breath and exercise intolerance.
Heart surgeons implant a battery-powered cardiac pacemaker under your skin, connected to the heart by wires. The pacemaker is programmed to activate if your heartbeat drops below a predetermined rate, like 60 beats per minute.
Surgical closure of the heart’s left atrial, or upper chamber, appendage can help restore normal heart rhythm.
Much like a pacemaker, ICDs use electrical signals to slow a fast heartbeat. Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are common examples. ICDs also incorporate pacemaker functions for those patients who require both. Watch this video to learn more about ICD.
This common procedure uses 3-dimensional mapping to assist the physicians in viewing the anatomy and electric system of the heart. Watch video to learn more about ablation.
- Radiofrequency ablation - Electrophysiologists guide a catheter (a thin, hollow tube, with an electrode at the tip) into the heart through a small incision in a vein in the groin. The electrode heats specific tissue, allowing the heart to beat normally.
- Cryoablation - Very cold temperatures can destroy specific tissue within the heart to restore normal rhythm.
Patients with suspected arrhythmias may require outpatient monitoring. Monitoring duration can range from one day to two years, depending on the situation. Most monitors are temporary and use stick-on electrodes. In some cases a monitor may be implanted under the skin for longer-term use.
Our dedicated heart-rhythm team is trained in testing and follow-up of all implanted cardiac rhythm devices.
You may need a CT or MRI before your procedure. Some people also may require a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) before the procedure. You may also need to stop at least one medication for several days prior to the procedure. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions.
Heart rhythm disorders are serious conditions. You will want to know what treatment options you have available, what options are best for you, and the hospital that offers the best possible outcome. You may want a second opinion if:
- You have a complicated or unusual heart condition
- Your medications are no longer working, and you now need to consider a procedure
- You already had a procedure(s) that did not correct your condition
- Your cardiologist suggests that nothing more can or should be done and you want to learn more about minimally invasive surgery
- You want confirmation of your test results and more information about your heart condition
To request a second opinion from Swedish, call 206-861-8550. We’ll help you determine which physician you should see and set up an appointment. We can also arrange for medical records, images and lab reports to be sent to the right place.
At your first appointment, you’ll meet with an electrophysiologist who will review your health history, recent test and imaging results and ask you questions about your heart condition. We want to learn all we can about your condition and help you make the best possible decisions for your care.
Bring the following to your appointment:
- Picture ID Insurance card
- Referral from your primary care physician (if required by your insurance plan)
- Co-payment (if required by your insurance plan)
- Money for parking
- List of medication and dosages
- Medical history or other forms provided in advance of your appointment
To refer a patient to Swedish cardiac electrophysiologists, call 206-861-8550.
If one of your patients needs immediate hospitalization, contact our transfer center at 866-470-4233. You can transfer a patient 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.