Arrhythmia is a condition where the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm. The heart beats too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or in an irregular pattern. There can be many causes for arrhythmia. The team at the New England Heart & Vascular Institute offer all of the latest treatment options to address your arrhythmia and restore your heart’s normal function.
Diagnostic Testing may include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Electrophysiological Testing and Mapping
- Holter Monitor
- Implantable Loop Recorder
- Stress Test
Types of Arrhythmia:
Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib)
A-Fib is a complex heart condition affecting more than 2 million people in the United States.
Your heart has an electrical system. Your heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses that start in the upper chambers of your heart (atria) and cause them to contract. A-Fib occurs when those signals become irregular and cause the atria to beat out of sync with the lower chambers (ventricles). This disrupts the heart’s normal blood flow. Atrial fibrillation can lead to many symptoms including but not limited to palpitations, chest discomfort, trouble breathing, and low energy levels. In some cases, the A-Fib could be silent and not recognized until serious complication occur. A-Fib can cause blood to pool in the heart, which can lead to a stroke, heart failure, and other heart related complications.
According to the Heart Rhythm Society, 160,000 new patients are diagnosed every year with this serious condition. The goals of A-Fib treatment are to eliminate symptoms and to reduce the likelihood of complications such as stroke. Our specialists at the New England Heart &Vascular Institute offer a comprehensive treatment program for patients that offers the latest technologies.
- Types of A-Fib
- Paroxysmal: irregular contractions, or “episodes”, come and go, never lasting longer than a week
- Persistent: episodes last longer than a week at a time and do not stop on their own without an intervention
- Long-standing persistent: continuous episode lasting longer than one year
- Permanent: only the heart rate, and not the A-Fib, is controlled
Atrial flutter is a rapid, more organized heart rhythm from the atria that is similar to and often associated with A-Fib.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
SVT is an abnormally fast heartbeat initiated in an area in the upper chambers of the heart.
treatment options for A-Fib:
A full spectrum of care
CMC New England Heart & Vascular Institute physicians and surgeons collaborate to provide complete care for our patients. Treatments range from lifestyle modifcations and medication to minimally-invasive procedures and surgery. Each patient's treatment plan is tailored to specificaly what is best for them. Therapies include:
Lifestyle modifications may include diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake
Medications may include blood thinners which can be successful in reducing stroke risk related to A-Fib
Ablation: a minimally invasive procedure that uses energy to create electrical barriers in the heart which can eliminate the abnormal rhythm or block the electrical signals that can trigger the abnormal rhythm.
Cardioversion: electrical shocks are applied to restore normal heart rhythm; may be used in combination with medication.
Convergent: for Persistent A-Fib, this approach uses ablation both inside and outside the heart to restore normal rhythm.
Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC): this helps to prevent stroke by using a device—like the WATCHMAN™ or a clip—to close off the small chamber of the heart where blood tends to pool and form stroke-causing clots.
Pacemaker: a device implanted underneath the skin that monitors heart rhythm. It runs through veins to the inside of the heart. It sends electrical signals to stimulate the heart and control rhythm problems like a slow or irregular heartbeat.
Surgical Ablation: the MAZE procedure is an ablation performed while the patient is having a surgical procedure for another heart condition, such as coronary artery disease or heart valve disease.
Implantable loop monitor: a device implanted underneath the skin which can diagnose abnormal heart rhythms or monitor patients with known abnormal heart rhythms.