The Bon Secours Heart Rhythm Center offers a variety of safe and effective approaches to heart rhythm problems. Our staff of physicians, nurses and technologists will explain tests and procedures to you and your family, answer your questions, and guide you through the diagnostic and treatment process. After a complete evaluation, we will work with you and your primary care physician to determine the best treatment option. Arrhythmia treatment depends on the type and severity of the arrhythmia.
arrhythmias and conditions
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Atrial Flutter
- Heart Block
- Long QT Syndrome
- Sick Sinus Syndrome
- Supraventricular Tachycardia
- Ventricular Tachycardia
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
tests & diagnosis
To diagnose a heart arrhythmia, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical. He or she might also order heart-monitoring tests that are specific to diagnosing arrhythmias. These can include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) – This test uses a machine that is attached to the legs, arms and chest through 10 electrodes. The ECG/EKG records the heart’s electrical signals that create heart rhythms.
- Echocardiogram – This non-invasive imaging technique records a videotaped image of heart structures, showing the heart’s chambers and valves in motion.
- Holter Monitoring – A Holter monitor is a small phone-sized device attached to a patient’s chest by five adhesive electrode patches. The monitor records the heart rhythm for 24-48 hours.
- Event Recorder – This small, phone-sized recording device detects and records arrhythmias and can be worn for up to a month.
- Tilt Table Test – This test helps evaluate blood pressure-related causes for fainting (syncope). The patient rests on a special table that tilts him or her upright at a 70-80 degree angle for 30-45 minutes while their heart rhythm and blood pressure are recorded.
- Medical management – Our doctors may prescribe medications, including rate and rhythm control medications, to help treat your specific arrhythmia. It may also be necessary to start anticoagulant therapy to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.
- Pacemakers – The Heart Rhythm Center uses the latest advances in pacemaker technology, including single chamber and dual chamber pacemakers. Since each patient’s treatment plan is customized depending upon the underlying cause(s) of the heart arrhythmia, patients who have complex abnormal rhythms may require a combined implantable cardioverter defibrillator along with a pacemaker to treat their complex cardiac arrhythmias.
- Biventricular pacing – Biventricular pacemakers are implantable devices used to synchronize the beating of the two ventricles of the heart. In a healthy beating heart, both lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) beat together. The biventricular pacemaker is extremely useful when congestive heart failure occurs. In congestive heart failure, the weakened ventricles are enlarged and no longer beat together. Implanting the biventricular pacemaker is called cardiac resynchronization therapy because this pacemaker is used to resynchronize the rhythm of the ventricles.
- Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) – This small device is implanted to monitors your heart’s rate and rhythm and uses small electrical pulses to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. The latest ICDs have the ability to act as a pacemaker should your heart rate become too slow.
- Catheter ablation – Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that cauterizes the exact heart regions where irregular heart rhythms originate. During catheter ablation, a specialized catheter is inserted into a vein and guided to the problem area of the heart muscle. Restoring normal heart rhythm occurs when radiofrequency energy or freezing temperature is introduced into the problem area. Catheter ablation often cures arrhythmias by interrupting the path of abnormal electrical impulses.
- Surgical ablation – Surgical ablation is performed through incisions in the chest, and is often offered with other heart surgeries such as coronary bypass surgery or surgery to repair leaky or narrowed heart valves.
- Convergent (hybrid) ablation – This procedure is a treatment alternative for atrial fibrillation patients who have failed other ablations or who have an enlarged atria, which is often indicative of structural heart disease. The convergent procedure combines the best techniques of electrophysiologists and cardiovascular surgeons to provide a truly minimally invasive treatment solution for AFib patients in a single procedure.