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.
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 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.