Electrophysiology & Heart Rhythm Treatments at Jupiter Medical Center
An arrhythmia, or uneven heartbeat, is when the heart beats too fast (tachycardia),
too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. While many heart arrhythmias are
harmless, some irregular heart rhythms can be a sign of something more serious.
Jupiter Medical Center offers electrophysiology services, including testing
and treatments for arrhythmia, in our advanced electrophysiology lab.
Our expert team is highly experienced with evaluating, diagnosing and
treating abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation and heart
rhythm disorders requiring pacemaker or defibrillator implantation.
What is Electrophysiology?
Electrophysiology is a specialty of cardiology that focuses on diagnosing
and treating problems related to the electrical system of the heart, which
controls the heart rhythm. Patients undergoing testing or treatment in
Jupiter Medical Center’s electrophysiology lab are seen by cardiologists
who are board certified in electrophysiology, indicating they have undergone
additional training in managing and correcting abnormal heart rhythms.
When Should You See an Electrophysiologist?
If you’re experiencing an abnormal heart rhythm, your physician may
refer you to an electrophysiologist. An electrophysiologist may start
with various tests to determine the source of your heart arrhythmia, and
whether the arrhythmia is cause for concern. Once the diagnosis is made,
the electrophysiologist can determine if treatment is needed, and recommended
Our cardiologists and electrophysiologists use a variety of tests to evaluate
heart arrhythmias. Initial tests may include:
- A Holter monitor, which is a continuous recording of your heart rhythm
and rate, usually for a full day or longer.
- A stress test, during which you will walk or run on a treadmill or ride
a stationary cycle to determine how exercise affects your heart.
- Heart imaging tests, such as an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart)
or trans esophageal echocardiogram (TEE). These tests produce pictures
of your heart.
- Implantable loop recorders, which are heart-monitoring devices that record
the heart’s electrical activity. Your physician may set your implantable
loop recorder to record if your heart rate drops below a certain rate,
or when it beats faster than a certain rate. Implantable loop recorders
can also be activated by the patient when experiencing symptoms such as
dizziness or palpitations.
Learn More about Diagnostic Testing.
Electrophysiology Studies in Our Advanced Lab
Another test performed in an electrophysiology lab is an electrophysiology
study, which tests the electrical activity in the heart and is used to
find out where the arrhythmia is coming from. During an electrophysiology
study, a thin catheter is inserted into a blood vessel that leads to the
heart. The procedure is done while you are sedated and relaxed, but awake.
Electrophysiology studies may be used to determine which medications will
work best for you, or whether treatments such as cardiac ablation, or
an implantable pacemaker or defibrillator, will give you the best results.
Electrophysiology Treatments and Services
Jupiter Medical Center offers a full range of advanced electrophysiology
treatments and services, including medications, electrical cardioversion
and minimally invasive surgeries.
Medications: Antiarrhythmic drugs can help correct abnormal heart rhythms caused by
problems with the heart’s electrical activity. There are several
types of antiarrhythmics, including sodium channel blockers, potassium
channel blockers, and calcium channel blockers. Other types of drugs may
also be prescribed to treat arrhythmia. Beta-blockers, for example, reduce
the heart’s workload and rate.
Electrical cardioversion. Electrical cardioversion is used to restore normal heart rhythm in people
with certain forms of cardiac arrhythmia, including a rapid or irregular
heartbeat found in atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular
tachycardia (SVT) or ventricular tachycardia. Cardioversion involves placing
electrode pads on the chest and back, which connect to a cardioversion
machine. During the procedure, a high-energy shock is sent to the heart,
resetting the rhythm. Typically done with IV sedation, the patient does
not feel the shock and the procedure takes only a few minutes. Electrical
cardioversion may be used in conjunction with antiarrhythmic medications,
which may help to maintain a normal rhythm for a longer period.
Surgeries to Treat Heart Rhythm Disorders
While many heart arrhythmias can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications
or cardioversion, some people may eventually need further treatments to
restore a normal heart rhythm. Jupiter Medical Center’s cardiology
and electrophysiology team also specializes in surgical procedures that
provide highly effective, long-term solutions to heart rhythm disorders
for many patients.
Catheter Ablation: Catheter ablation, also called radiofrequency ablation, is a procedure
that uses radiofrequency energy to zap targeted areas of heart tissue
that are causing irregular heartbeats. Destroying the tissue can help
restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Ablation may be recommended for
heart problems such as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrial fibrillation
and atrial flutter. Ablation is typically recommended only if medications
are not working as well as needed. Ablation destroys only the heart tissue
leading to the abnormal electrical signals, leaving the rest of the heart
Pacemaker Implantation: A pacemaker emits low-energy electrical pulses to stimulate the heart.
A small device implanted inside the chest, pacemakers are used when the
heart rate is too slow. The electrical pulses help the heart return to
a normal speed.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD): Like a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is also
implanted inside the chest to treat life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.
Defibrillators monitor and detect abnormal heart rhythms, and emit high-energy
pulses to treat potentially life-threatening arrhythmias, such as ventricular
tachycardia and fibrillation, which have the potential to lead to sudden
cardiac arrest. Ventricular tachycardia is a chaotic, uncoordinated heartbeat,
due to abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart.
Ventricular tachycardia may prevent your heart from being able to pump
sufficient blood to the rest of the body.
Conditions We Treat
There are many types of arrhythmias, which can be identified based on what
part of the heart they occur in (the atria or the ventricles), and what
happens to the heart rhythm when the arrhythmia occurs. Here are some
of the more common heart arrhythmias that should assessed, diagnosed and treated.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation,
or AFib, occurs when the heart’s upper chambers – the atria
– contract irregularly. Instead of a coordinated, strong, singular
contraction, the upper chambers of the heart quiver rapidly. During an
episode of atrial fibrillation, the heartbeat can speed up to 400 beats a minute.
The CDC estimates between 2.7 and 6 million people in the U.S. have atrial
fibrillation. The odds of experiencing atrial fibrillation increase with
age. Atrial fibrillation is most common in adults over age 65. Getting
AFib under control is essential. AFib increases the risk of blood clots
Atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation have a lot in common. Both start
in the heart’s atria. Both conditions cause the heart to beat rapidly,
and both are caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system.
However with atrial flutter, the heart rhythm tends to be rapid but less
chaotic than during an episode of atrial fibrillation. Many people experience
both atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, and atrial flutter may progress
to atrial fibrillation.
Tachycardia is an abnormally rapid heartbeat. Supraventricular tachycardia
(SVT) occurs when the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat too
rapidly. There are several types of SVTs. One of the most common in adults
is atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia.
This condition refers to abnormal electrical impulses that start in the
ventricles and cause an abnormally fast heartbeat. Ventricular tachycardia
may be the result of a previous heart attack, This often happens if the
heart has a scar from a previous heart attack.
Long QT syndrome
Long QT syndrome is a heart rhythm disorder that causes rapid, uncoordinated
heartbeats. While many people with Long QT syndrome don’t have symptoms,
the most common sign in people with the disorder is fainting. The disorder
tends to run in families and can be associated with certain medications.