Conditions We Treat

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Cardiac Electrophysiology

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Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Flutter
Bradycardia
Heart Block
Palpitations
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Atrial Flutter

Diagnosis

Like most arrhythmias, atrial flutter is diagnosed by recording the abnormal rhythm in progress. It can also be induced, or triggered, in Swedish’s Electrophysiology Laboratory.

Treatments

Not everyone with atrial flutter requires treatment. Those who do may need medication, including blood thinners to reduce the chance of a stroke. Other treatments such as electrical cardioversion or ablation may be necessary.

Bradycardia

Diagnosis

As with all heart rhythm problems, the key to diagnosis is recording the abnormal rhythm with a monitor or an electrocardiogram, known as an ECG.

Treatments

If treatment is required, it could include:
• Stopping medications that are slowing your heart rate
• Treating underlying conditions that may be responsible for a low thyroid
• Inserting a pacemaker to regulate your heart rate

Watch a video about pacemakers and how they are implanted.

Heart Block

Diagnosis

As with all heart rhythm problems, the key to diagnosis is recording the abnormal rhythm with a monitor or electrocardiogram, known as an ECG.

Treatments

Sometimes heart block goes away. For instance, if a medicine is responsible, changing the dose or discontinuing the medicine altogether could solve the problem. Otherwise, heart block is almost always treated with a pacemaker.

Palpitations

Diagnosis

To diagnose the cause of palpitations, an electrocardiogram – or ECG -- or other heart monitor test is done while the symptoms are occurring. Because palpitations are a symptom, however, the heart rhythm may be completely normal. Equally important, no test can “show” a palpitation.

Treatments

Treatment depends on the cause of the palpitations. It can include reassuring the patient, medication or medical procedures, which would depend on the severity of the symptoms and the specific diagnosis.

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Diagnosis

SVT is diagnosed by making a recording of the abnormal rhythm on a monitor or electrocardiogram, known as an ECG, or by inducing it in the Electrophysiology Laboratory.

Treatments

If episodes of supraventricular tachycardia are infrequent or the symptoms are mild, no treatment may be necessary. If treatment is needed, it could include medication or ablation. In some cases, patients can be taught to stop supraventricular tachycardia by what are known as “vagal maneuvers.”

Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Diagnosis

VT can be diagnosed by:
• Doing an electrocardiogram, or ECG
• Attaching a portable monitoring device to a person who then does normal activities
• Inducing arrhythmia in the Electrophysiology Laboratory

The key is to try to determine the underlying cause of ventricular tachycardia. This will determine the appropriate treatment.

Treatments

As with all cardiac arrhythmias, even some VT doesn’t require treatment. When treatment is needed, options include:

Video

Dr. Eric Williams explains ventricular tachycardia: