Heart and Vascular Center

Arrhythmia

A rhythm disorder, or arrhythmia, is an abnormality in the regular beat of the heart. The heart may beat either too fast (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) or beat irregularly. Arrhythmias occur when there is a disturbance in the way the heart transmits electrical impulses, or as a result of a heart attack. Either the natural pacemaker develops an abnormal rate or rhythm, the normal pathway for a heartbeat is interrupted, or another part of the heart takes over as the pacemaker.

Almost 350 patients receive pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) each year at St. Joseph Hospital. In addition, our Pacemaker and Arrhythmia Center provides follow-up support for patients who have received an ICD or pacemaker, and provides event recorders for the monitoring of patients' cardiac rhythms. More than 450 patients visit the Pacemaker and Arrhythmia Center each month for heart rhythm disorder care.

Arrhythmia Diagnostic Services

After you have described your symptoms and your physician has performed a physical examination, any one of several diagnostic tests may be used to diagnose and determine the severity of the coronary artery disease and your current heart health. These diagnostic procedures may include an electrocardiogram, Holter monitoring or an electrophysiology study.

Arrhythmia Treatment

Some arrhythmias are treated successfully with medications that will regulate the heart rate. St. Joseph Hospital heart experts may also recommend a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, which uses radio waves to destroy the abnormal pathways in the heart that are causing rhythm problems.

The St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular Center Cardiac Catheterization Lab offers comprehensive medical treatment, including radio frequency ablation, for both adult and pediatric patients.

Pacemakers

Pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) are devices that are implanted under the skin and attached to the heart muscle with electrodes to regulate the heart's rhythm.

At the St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, electrophysiology studies are conducted in a dedicated electrophysiology lab by highly skilled electrophysiologists. The cardiac catheterization lab is equipped with the most advanced technology to ensure more accurate diagnoses.