Metro Health offers a subspecialty of cardiology called electrophysiology (EP) that focuses on the heart rhythm. Based on your symptoms and the results of tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or ambulatory ECG monitor, an EP study may be warranted, which is a test of your heart’s electrical system and is used to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias.
A diagnosis of arrhythmia means there has been a change in the normal sequence of impulses in your electrical system. Four general categories are:
- Premature (extra) beats – early and/or extra beats that come from the upper chambers
- Supraventricular – fast heart rates, or tachycardias that start in your heart’s upper chambers
- Ventricular – abnormalities that start in the heart’s lower chambers
- Bradyarrhythmias – slower-than-normal heart rate
The most common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib, which affects more than 4 million Americans. It is an irregular rhythm that can cause symptoms such as skipped beats or palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.
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Treatments for heart arrhythmias
Many people can be treated for arrhythmias with medications alone. Others may need a catheter ablation, performed at the time of an EP study by inserting a catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy. By effectively scarring the source of the arrhythmia, catheter ablation may cure the patient of arrhythmia. Others may require an implantable device, such as a pacemaker for bradycardia, or an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).Our treatment team will work to identify the best course of action to manage your arrhythmia.
Metro Health Heart & Vascular performs electrophysiology procedures in collaboration with University of Michigan Health to improve heart care for patients in West Michigan.