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The electrical impulses of the heart cause it to contract and relax. This enables the heart to pump blood throughout the body and to vital organs. Irregular or abnormal electrical impulses can cause the heart to beat too slowly or too fast. These electrical heart rhythm abnormalities are known as arrhythmias. Electrophysiology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias and other heart rhythm disorders related to the heart’s electrical system.
The Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratory at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is equipped with the latest technology to diagnose and treat an array of abnormal heart rhythm conditions. The state-of-the-art facility is the only one of its kind in the Cambria/Somerset region. The Conemaugh Memorial Electrophysiology team is specially trained to perform a wide range of minimally invasive procedures designed to monitor, manage, and cure rhythm abnormalities.
Arrhythmias are perhaps the most common electrical impulse conditions. They can be harmless, serious or even life-threatening conditions. The impact of an arrhythmia largely depends on the structural condition of the heart, as well as the presence of heart disease. Arrhythmia warning signs include palpitations, skipped beats, fluttering, slow heartbeat (Bradycardias), rapid heartbeat (Tachycardias), inability to tolerate exercise or exertion, fainting or almost fainting.
Cardiac diseases often affect the area above the ventricles in the artia, causing an elevated heartbeat. The artia of the heart receives blood returning to the heart from other areas of the body.
Ventrical Tachycardia (VT) is a rapid heartbeat that begins in the ventricles, muscular chambers that pump blood out of the heart to the lungs and other organs.
Contrary to tachycardia, bradycardia is a slow or irregular heart rhythm typically fewer than 60 beats per minute. The slowed heart rate causes a decrease of blood flow to the body and may cause dizziness, lack of energy, shortness of breath or fainting during periods of normal activity or exercise. Intracardiac Electroanatomical Mapping can be used to diagnose problem areas in the heart, and devices such as pacemakers can be used for treatment.
An Electrophysiology (EP) study is a test which records the electrical activity of theheart. This test is used to help determine the cause of a rhythmic disturbance that the heart may be having and can also determine the origin of the problem. After having this test done, the doctor will have a better understanding of the patient's condition determine the best treatment.
Conemaugh's advanced arrhythmia management team works in a state-of-the-art lab to provide the highest quality of care for patients.
Cardiac ablation is a non-surgical procedure where a thin flexible catheter, called a therapeutic catheter, is inserted into a vessel in the groin and threaded up into the heart. Heat or a cooling agent is sent through the catheter to extinguish the electrical triggers and circuits which cause arrhythmias.
Pacemakers may be used for the treatment of Bradycardias including those caused by sinus node disease and conduction disease. Pacemakers monitor and regulate the rhythm of the heart and transmit electrical impulses to stimulate the heart if it is beating too slowly. Pacemakers offer single and dual chamber options, minimize ventricular pacing, rate response, and mode switching.
These defibrillators are used for primary and secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. All defibrillators have pacing functionality and assist in finding balance for the heart. ICDs are 99% effective in stopping life-threatening arrhythmias and are the most successful therapy to treat ventricular fibrillation, the major cause of sudden cardiac death. ICDs continuously monitor the heart rhythm, automatically function as pacemakers for the heart rates that are too slow, and deliver life-saving shocks if a dangerously fast heart rhythm is detected.
This therapy is used for patients with heart failure. The inserted device can be a defibrillator or just a pacer. The implanted device paces both the left and right ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart simultaneously. This resynchronizes muscle contractions and improves the efficiency of the weakened heart.