The Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratory at Frye Regional Heart Center is equipped with the latest technology to diagnose and treat an array of abnormal heart rhythm conditions. The is the only one of its kind in the region.
Our team is specially trained to perform a wide range of minimally invasive procedures designed to monitor, manage, and cure rhythm abnormalities.
Common Electrophysiology Conditions
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.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
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.
- Atrial fibrillation: Irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blow flow to the body.
- Atrial flutter: Overly rapid regular contraction of the atrium of the heart.
- Atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT): AVNRT is the most common form of SVT. In patients with this condition, the atrioventricular node is divided into two longitudinal pathways that form the reentrant circuit. AVNRT is caused by the circular movement of electricity between the slow and fast pathways of the circuit. The slow pathway and fast pathway allow the AV node to receive multiple signals causing a fast heartbeat. The condition is typically well tolerated and often occurs in patients with no structural heart disease. AVNRT accounts for 80-90% of all SVTs.
- Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT): AVRT is the second most common type of SVT, accounting for about 30% of all SVTs. Patients with AVNRT have been born with an extra, abnormal electrical connection in the heart. The extra connection joins one of the upper chambers of the heart (atria) with one of the lower chambers (ventricles). AVRT occurs when the heart beats too fast due to the extra electrical pathways between the upper and lower chambers.
- Junctional (AV Nodal) tachycardia: Junctional Tachycardia can be temporary (Automatic Junctional Tachycardia) or persistent (Junctional Reentrant Tachycardia, PJRT). Automatic junctional tachycardia can be caused by drug toxicity or unknown cause.
Ventricle Tachycardia (VT)
Ventricle 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.
- Inheritable cardiac disease
- Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia / cardiomyopathy (ARVD/ARVC): a genetic condition that causes the replacement of the right ventricle cardiac muscle with fibrous, fatty issue. Resulting arrhythmias can produce palpitations or loss of consciousness.
- Brugada: a genetic disease characterized by abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) findings and an increased risk of sudden death.
- Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT): a rare condition causing the heart to beat abnormally quickly during physical activity or high levels of emotion but shows no structural problems of the heart. The rapid heartbeat may cause dizziness, loss of consciousness or sudden death.
- Long QT: a heart rhythm disorder that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. The rapid heartbeats may result in sudden fainting.
- Non-Compaction: a heart muscle condition affecting the left ventricular muscle wall causing it to be non-compact and consisting of a meshwork of muscle bands called trabeculations.
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVC): PVCs are abnormal heartbeats that occur in one of the heart's ventricles earlier than the next expected beat. PVCs are common and can feel as if your heart skipped beat.
- Risk for sudden death
- Cardiomyopathy: Weakening or change in the heart muscle that occurs when the heart cannot pump blood as it should or has difficulty with other heart functions.
- Coronary heart disease (CAD): A narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
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 Electroanatomic Mapping can be used to diagnose problem areas in the heart, and devices such as pacemakers can be used for treatment.
Procedures and Treatments
An Electrophysiology (EP) study is a test which records the electrical activity of your heart. This test is used to help determine the cause of a rhythmic disturbance that your 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 your condition and will be able to find the best treatment for you.
Our advanced arrhythmia management team works in a state-of-the-art lab to provide the highest quality of care for our 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.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD)
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.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (Biventricular Pacing)
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.
The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a small sac in the left atrium’s muscle wall. In patients with AFib, blood can collect in the pouch, leading to a dangerous blood clot. The Lariat procedure addresses this issue by securely closing this appendage.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and with the use of two separate catheters – one to insert the pre-tied suture loop known as the Lariat Suture Delivery Device and another to guide it into place. After completion, the LAA, the source of up to 85% if AFib-related blood clots, is permanently closed off and future stroke risk greatly reduced.
Frye Regional Medical Center now offers patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) an alternative to long-term blood thinners with the next generation WATCHMAN left atrial appendage closure device. This one-time procedure reduces the risk of stroke in people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem. The newest version of the WATCHMAN device has been designed to help treat more patients safely and effectively. It never has to be replaced and cannot be seen outside the body.
The procedure is performed in the cardiac electrophysiology laboratory. The procedure typically takes about 45 minutes or less. It is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurers.