Electrophysiology Lab

Abnormal Heart Rhythms Can Be Cured

Christian Hospital is home to the only electrophysiology lab in north St. Louis County for the cure and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms. A doctor's referral is not required.
Call 314.747.WELL (314.747.9355) or toll-free  877.747.9355 for more information or for an appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost everyone has an uneven heartbeat now and then, and it's usually harmless. But a frequent or lasting change in the heart's rhythm can cause problems. An abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, is caused by changes in the electrical impulses that control the heart muscle.

Treatment Options

Advances have been made in the treatment of arrhythmia that allow normal heart rhythm to be restored, improving a patient's quality of life. Procedures are less invasive and are performed on an outpatient basis. Most patients no longer need stay on blood thinners or heart rhythm medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), that often cause troubling side effects.

  • Evaluation of fainting, dizziness and palpitations
  • Ablation (cauterization of abnormal electrical circuits that cause an arrhythmia)
  • Implantation of a pacemaker and follow-up care
  • Implantation of a defibrillator and follow-up care
  • Implantation of bi-ventricular cardiac devices for heart failure
  • Arrhythmia clinics
  • Free support group meetings led by clinicians for individuals with defibrillators

Electrophysiologists

Electrophysiologists are cardiologists who have received an additional two years of training, and who concentrate on correcting problems with heart rhythms and impulses. Electrophysiologists treat and cure the non-life-threatening forms of arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation.

Facts About Atrial Fibrillation

  • As many as 2.2 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial fibrillation is usually not life-threatening, but can lead to other rhythm problems, chronic fatigue and congestive heart failure
  • The greatest risk of atrial fibrillation is developing a blood clot, which can cause a stroke if it dislodges and travels to the brain; every year, stroke occurs in 5 percent of people with atrial fibrillation
  • Increasing tiredness is not always a part of growing old; the risk of developing atrial fibrillation increases with age, affecting about 10 percent of people older than 80

Common Terms

Ablation -- An outpatient procedure during which heat is applied through a catheter and run to the heart, destroying the heart tissue causing the electrical "short circuit;" approximately 70 percent of patients receiving ablation are cured

Arrhythmia -- A change in the normal heartbeat

Atrial Fibrillation -- The most common type of arrhythmia, during which the top chambers of the heart quiver, or fibrillate, causing an irregular heart beat of palpitations or rapid thumping inside the chest; as a result, the heart might not pump blood effectively, resulting in shortness of breath and a feeling of being tired

Automatic Implantable Defibrillator -- A device surgically implanted inside the patient's chest, where it monitors the heart's rhythm and quickly identifies serious arrhythmias that can lead to sudden death; with an electrical shock, it immediately disrupts a deadly arrhythmia

Bradycardia -- A slower than normal heartbeat, usually below 60 beats per minute

Pacemaker -- A small, battery-operated device that helps the heart beat regularly; it can be used in the treatment of arrhythmia

Tachycardia -- A rapid heartbeat, usually above 100 beats per minute

Ventricular Fibrillation -- Suddenly rapid, irregular and chaotic heartbeats; ventricular fibrillation is the number one cause of cardiac death