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Understanding Heart Rhythm Disorders and Treatments

When you develop a heart arrhythmia, your doctor at Phoenix Heart may perform an advanced electrophysiology study. Your procedure is performed at their in-house CardioVascular Lab, where you receive personal care in a relaxing, comforting environment. If you have an irregular, fast, or slow heartbeat, schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, Buckeye, Laveen, Cottonwood, and Black Canyon City, Arizona.
Interventional cardiologist using ablation radiofrequency energy catheters for navigation systems

Electrophysiology Q & A

What is Electrophysiology?

Electrophysiology is a specialized field of cardiovascular medicine that focuses on the heart’s conduction system. Your heart has its own electrical system that begins in a little cluster of cells called the sinoatrial (SA) node.

The SA node is a natural pacemaker that initiates electrical impulses at regular intervals. It’s responsible for maintaining a heart rate of about 60-100 beats per minute. The impulses from the SA node travel through your heart, following a specific pathway that makes the muscles contract in the precise order needed to pump blood through your heart.

What is a Heart Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia occurs when the electrical impulses in your heart aren’t coordinated and your heart rate deviates from its normal rate and rhythm.

If you have an arrhythmia, you may experience symptoms such as:

Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is one of the most common types of arrhythmias. When you have A-fib, your heartbeat is irregular in the heart’s upper chambers, so blood doesn’t flow properly through the lower chambers.

What Causes Electrophysiological Problems?

In most cases, arrhythmias develop due to coronary artery disease and valve disorders. Arrhythmias also arise during a heart attack or if you have a heart muscle disease. Many underlying health conditions are also known to contribute to heart arrhythmias, including thyroid disorders, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea.

What is an Electrophysiology Study?

An electrophysiology study is a test to evaluate your heart’s electrical system. Your doctor may recommend the study to diagnose heart rhythm problems, to see how well heart rhythm medications are working, or to check your heart before implanting a pacemaker.

After applying an anesthetic, a catheter is inserted into a large vein, guided to your heart, and positioned using X-ray guided imaging. During the first part of the electrophysiology test, the heart’s electrical signals are recorded so that it’s overall functioning can be evaluated. Then your Phoenix Heart doctor purposefully triggers an arrhythmia.

Cardiologist use tubes and ultrasound for radiofrequency catheter ablation.

Inducing an arrhythmia while the catheter is in place provides information about what’s causing the problem.

This information is essential to properly treat the problem.

When an electrophysiology study is done in the controlled environment of the CardioVascular Lab at Phoenix Heart, you’re in the competent hands of highly trained cardiac specialists. Although the procedure may make you anxious, you can depend on their expertise to ensure a successful and safe electrophysiology study.

If you develop an irregular heartbeat or experience any change in your heart rate, call Phoenix Heart or book an appointment online.

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