Heart Rhythm Management
Cardiac dysrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, results when the electrical
activity of the heart is faster or slower than normal. Some people do
not feel their irregular heart beat and some have symptoms often requiring
Below is an overview of services that are offered at Mission Hospital to
help treat dysrhythmia. A team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses,
and techs from various disciplines and a wide range of other services,
take pride in the care of people.
A pacemaker is a device that helps the heart when someone develops a slow
heart rate (bradycardia). Under moderate sedation and with the use of
local anesthetic the pacemaker is inserted by a specialty trained cardiologist.
A small incision is made in the chest wall and a large vein is accessed.
Through the vein the leads are advanced and secured to the heart wall.
Once the pacemaker is in place, it is able to carry electrical signals
back and forth between the heart and the pacemaker. The pacemaker device
rests under the skin on the chest wall (usually on the left side). Once
the procedure is over, it will be very important to limit movement of
the effected side for 4-6 weeks, depending on your doctor's orders.
Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD)
An Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator, also called an ICD, is a device that
is designed to stop life threatening heart rhythms. This device is used
for patients who have experienced cardiac arrest or has life-threatening
rhythm that cannot be controlled with medications. It can also be used
for patients that have a very weak heart muscle, which increases the chances
of experiencing a life-threating rhythm.
It is inserted the same way as a pacemaker but has different capabilities.
An ICD is capable of pacing the heart but it also can provide the means
of restoring a normal heart rhythm in case one has a life threating heart rhythm.
Cardiac Resynchronization Technology (Biventricular Pacemaker)
This type of technology can help to improve the function of the heart.
The difference with this device is its ability to make the left and the
right ventricles of the heart work more efficiently together. Many patients
who have congestive heart failure lose the ability of the ventricles to
beat in synchrony. This device helps with improve pumping ability and
overall heart function.
A loop recorder is a small device about the size of a stick of trident
gum that sits under the skin above the heart. This small device is able
to detect one's heart rate and rhythm 24/7 and to provide valuable
data for your physician to treat a heart condition. A small incision is
made next to the sternum and the device is injected under the skin. It
has a battery life of three years and is monitored remotely.
Ablations or Radiofrequency (RF) Ablations
This procedure is done using special X-ray equipment while the patient
lies on his or her back on an exam table. The doctor utilizes flexible
wires called electrode catheters to find the area causing the rhythm problems.
Radiofrequency energy is generated to the focused area and heat is used
to burn tissue which is causing the arrhythmia. Once the tissue is burned,
it prevents the arrhythmia from making its full circuit within the heart.
The heart should beat at a normal rate.
Stereotaxis (Magnetic Navigation)
Mission Hospital now utilizes a magnetic navigation system called Stereotaxis
to perform complex ablations. This is determined by the physician and
depends on which type of heart arrhythmia one has. To treat complex heart
conditions more quickly, and with increased precision and safety, our
skilled cardiologists employ the advanced, minimally invasive technology
called Stereotaxis. This magnetically guided, robotic surgical approach
enables them to navigate catheters through the sensitive pathways of the
heart and treat arrhythmias in the safest possible manner. For an ablation,
the technology uses special magnets to direct the ablation catheters to
burn the offending electrical impulses with extreme precision. This allows
for a higher percentage of success in curing a complex arrhythmia. This
procedure can take anywhere from 2-6 hours to complete, depending on the
specific heart arrhythmia. An anesthesiologist may be part of the team
to ensure that the patient is comfortable due to the length of the procedure.
Not all ablations require Stereotaxis and is something that your doctor
can discuss with you.
The potential benefits for our patients are many:
- Increased safety and precision
- Lower risk of complications and repeat procedures
- Shorter procedure times
- A 44 percent reduction in exposure to X-ray radiation
- Faster recovery
- Reduced need for invasive, open-heart procedures
- Expanded treatment options for complex conditions