The U-M Arrhythmia Program treats many heart rhythm disorders:atrial fibrillation (afib), sick sinus syndrome, sinus tachycardia and sinus bradycardia.
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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 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), 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.
Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive technique intended to treat atrial fibrillation (Afib) without major surgery. Using a specially designed catheter that is positioned in the left atrium, radiofrequency energy is applied to the heart muscle to cauterize the “short circuits” that are triggering atrial fibrillation. Electrophysiology (or EP) is the name of the branch of cardiology that deals with heart rhythm disorders, and catheter ablations are performed by an electrophysiologist (also sometimes called an EP).
FAQs about ICD, or Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator, an internal device that shocks the heart in the case of a life-threatening heart arrhythmia.
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.
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) 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) 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.
University of Michigan Arrhythmia Program treats heart rhythm disorders including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and Long QT Syndrome.
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.