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Experienced staff and advanced technology set us apart from the rest.
At Sharp, arrhythmias are diagnosed and treated with a full range of nonsurgical, minimally invasive and surgical treatment options.
In some cases, once the physician has found the source of the abnormal heart rhythm, its pathway through the heart is ablated, or destroyed. One such procedure is catheter ablation. In this procedure, the physician guides a catheter (a small narrow tube) through the blood vessels to the area where the abnormal rhythm starts. Then an electrical current is applied through the catheter to cure the arrhythmia.
In most cases, patients are admitted the morning of the procedure for an overnight hospital stay, and are able to resume normal activities the next day; there are no scars and there are no more drugs.
Sharp uses advanced technology, including the Carto XP Electro Anatomical Mapping System to produce 3-D images that show the electrical signals passing through the heart. Anatomical mapping is a type of electrophysiology study. Your physician uses these images to identify the source of the arrhythmia.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
For some patients, irregular heart rhythm can be extremely dangerous and life threatening. These patients may be treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator device (S-ICD).
In this procedure, the physician implants the small device under the left or right collarbone. Once the device is in place, the physician inserts the device's leads into the heart. If a life-threatening incident occurs in the heart’s rhythm, the device automatically shocks the heart to return to a normal rhythm. This device can prevent future life-threatening cardiac events, including sudden cardiac death.
Sharp offers support groups for patients and family members who want to learn more about their ICD.
Surgeons perform MAZE surgery to treat chronic atrial fibrillation (AF), a fast, irregular heart rhythm where the upper chambers of the heart contract in an uncoordinated fashion. AF is dangerous because it can cause blood to pool in the upper chambers, leading to blood clots. A stroke can occur if a blood clot travels from the heart and blocks a small artery in the brain.
MAZE surgery cures AF by literally creating a maze of new electrical pathways to let electrical impulses travel easily throughout the heart. The MAZE procedure uses sophisticated, minimally invasive methods providing patients with faster recovery and smaller incisions. Because patients with mitral valve disease often experience atrial fibrillation, the MAZE procedure may be performed in combination with mitral valve surgery.
A variety of rhythm disorders can be controlled with an artificial pacemaker. A pacemaker delivers timed, electrical impulses to the heart muscles through tiny wire leads. Traditionally, pacemakers have had only one or two leads, pacing only the ventricles or the atria. Now biventricular pacemakers use three leads to treat the delay in heart ventricle contractions.
Pulmonary Vein Isolation/Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Procedure
Pulmonary vein isolation (also called atrial fibrillation ablation) is one of the latest technologies for treating of atrial fibrillation. Research has identified areas in the left atrium, specifically around the pulmonary veins, as initiators of atrial fibrillation. In this relatively noninvasive procedure, physicians use radio waves to destroy the tissue surrounding the pulmonary veins in the left atrium.
For More Information
For more information about heart and vascular care at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego cardiologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
To find general information about heart and vascular care, visit Cardiovascular Diseases in Adult Health or read the Heart and Cardiovascular News archive. To learn more about electrophysiological studies and ablation, please read Electrophysiological Studies/Radiofrequency Ablation Procedures in Adult Health.