Anticoagulants (sometimes known as “blood thinners”) are drugs that prevent blood from clotting or prevent existing clots from getting larger. They can keep harmful clots from forming in the heart, veins or arteries.

Atrial Arrhythmia

The Michigan Medicine Arrhythmia Program treats many heart rhythm disorders:atrial fibrillation (afib), sick sinus syndrome, sinus tachycardia and sinus bradycardia.

Atrial Fibrillation - Afib

Atrial fibrillation, sometimes called "Afib", is the most prevalent type of heart arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and affects more than 4 million people in the U.S. With atrial fibrillation, the heart's upper chambers beat irregularly, affecting blood flow to the heart muscle and to the rest of the body. This can cause blood clots leading to a stroke.

AV Node Ablation

AV node ablation is effective in eliminating the rapid and irregular heartbeat that may accompany atrial fibrillation. However, this procedure is performed only in patients who do not respond to medications or cannot take them because of side effects, or who are not good candidates for a curative procedure.

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), also called biventricular pacing, uses an implantable biventricular pacemaker, about the size of a half dollar, which sends small electrical impulses to the heart to help the right and left ventricles pump together more normally. To "resynchronize" contractions and improve the pumping efficiency of the heart, CRT uses three leads, one each going into the right atria, right ventricle and left ventricle. This pacemaker is usually implanted just below the collarbone. This differs from a traditional pacemaker, which only treats the right ventricle.

Frequently Asked Questions: Catheter Ablation

Frequently asked questions about Catheter Ablation, a minimally-invasive technique intended to cure atrial fibrillation without major surgery. Using a specially designed catheter that is threaded into the left atrium of the heart, radio frequency energy is applied to the heart muscle to cauterize the “short circuits” in the heart's electrical system that are generating the atrial fibrillation.

Heart Arrhythmias

Any kind of abnormal heart rhythm is referred to as an arrhythmia. There are two types of arrhythmias: atrial arrhythmia, also called supraventricular arrhythmia, which begins in the upper chambers of the heart, and ventricular arrhythmia, which begins in the lower chambers of the heart. The most common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or "afib", which affects more than 4 million Americans.

Heart Tumors

Heart tumors are any type of abnormal growth in the tissue of the heart. These tumors may be either primary (originating in the heart itself) or secondary (originating from a primary tumor in a nearby organ such as the lungs). While the majority of primary heart tumors are benign (approximately 75 percent), even noncancerous varieties can lead to serious health problems if they interfere with the heart’s normal functioning. These complications can include heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or heart murmurs. Over time, tumors may also degenerate, which may cause pieces to break off and lodge in small arteries, resulting in a blockage of blood flow to vital organs.

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs)

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are devices used to treat patients with heart arrhythmias that occur in the heart’s lower chambers, or ventricles, which can be life threatening. ICDs are typically implanted in patients who have a weakened heart due to a history of heart blockages and/or heart attacks, or in those with heart muscle tissue that is enlarged or thickened. Occasionally, ICDs are implanted in patients who have an inherited heart defect that makes their heart beat abnormally.


Pacemakers are small, battery-operated devices most commonly used to treat patients with a heart rate that is too slow (a condition known as bradycardia) and heart block, which occurs if an electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart. A pacemaker replaces the heart’s natural pacing functions and works by receiving and sending electrical signals to and from the heart to regulate the heart rate.

Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) and Premature Atrial Contractions (PACs)

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in the ventricles, or lower pumping chambers, and disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a skipped beat or palpitations. PVCs are very common and usually harmless. Premature atrial contractions (PACs) are premature heartbeats that are similar to PVCs, but occur in the upper chambers of the heart, an area known as the atria. PACs do not typically cause damage to the heart and can occur in healthy individuals with no known heart disease.

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rate (tachycardia) usually caused when electrical impulses originating at or above the atrioventricular node, or AV node (part of the heart's electrical control system which controls rate) are out of sync. When a person goes into this arrhythmia, the heart beats at least 100 beats per minute and can be as high as 300 beats per minute. SVT is also known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) or paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT). People with SVT may go into this arrhythmia from time to time unrelated to exercise, stress or other common causes of a rapid heart rate. For most people, SVT is not dangerous. The heart continues to work normally, pumping blood through the body.

Vascular Disease

All the blood vessels that run through your body make up your vascular system, which includes your arteries and veins. The Vascular Medicine Program, part of the Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan, offers a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and management of patients with all forms of vascular disease.

Ventricular Arrhythmia

University of Michigan Arrhythmia Program treats heart rhythm disorders including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and Long QT Syndrome.  

Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a rapid heart rate that originates in the lower chambers of the heart, or ventricles, due to a malfunction of the heart's electrical system. VT is defined by a pulse of more than 100 beats per minute with at least three irregular heartbeats in a row. The heart may beat inefficiently which can result in the body not receiving an adequate blood supply.