Electrophysiology

Electrophysiology is a branch of cardiology that focuses on the electrical system and rhythm of the heart. Specially trained and certified cardiologists — called electrophysiologists — diagnose and repair arrhythmias, as well as other electrical problems with the heart.

Arrhythmias happen when your heart’s electrical signals don’t work properly, causing problems with your heart rate or rhythm. Your heart might beat too fast (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) or with the wrong rhythm. Disease, injuries or genetics can trigger an arrhythmia. You may not have symptoms at first, or you may feel your heart beating out of its regular rhythm. You might also feel tired, faint, dizzy, weak or short of breath, or you may have chest pain.

Arrhythmia prevents your heart from pumping blood efficiently to the rest of your body. The blood can pool and clot, blocking your arteries and preventing blood from flowing to your heart, brain and other organs. Untreated arrhythmias can cause serious problems, such as a blood clot, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke.

Adventist Health’s electrophysiologists assess and repair arrhythmias, using advanced technology for an accurate diagnosis.

Expert care for atrial fibrillation (AFib)

One of the most common types of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or AFib. It is estimated that one in four people over age 40 will experience AFib in their lifetime. It occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat out of sync with the lower chambers, creating an irregular and/or rapid heartbeat.

The Electrophysiology (EP) lab at Dameron Hospital offers comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options for AFib patients. The lab is part of our cardiac catheterization lab and is staffed with full-time registered nurses, radiology technicians, electrophysiologists, cardiologists and anesthesiologists. The lab is under the leadership of Rashaad Chothia, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist and the medical director of Dameron Hospitals EP program.

What are the treatment options for AFib?

As your partner in heart care, we will work with you to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your AFib or other arrhythmia issue with nonsurgical or surgical procedures, including minimally invasive methods when possible. Procedures we offer include:

  • 3D cardiac mapping: This procedure enables our doctors to map the movements of electrical impulses throughout the heart muscle in real-time to help them identify where an irregular heart rhythm may be originating.
  • Electrical cardioversion: Your electrophysiologist sends an electrical shock to your heart to restore normal rhythm.
  • Cardiac ablation: Your electrophysiologistguides a specially equipped catheter into your heart to create a tiny scar that blocks the electrical signals that are causing your abnormal heartbeat. This procedure is performed in unison with our 3D mapping system and live cardiac ultrasound imaging, which lets your electrophysiologist view the catheter as it moves up to and through your heart.
  • Hybrid maze procedure: This two-stage procedure restores your heart’s rhythm. First, a surgeon creates a “maze” pattern of scar tissue on your heart to redirect the electrical signals that control your heartbeat. Then, a cardiac electrophysiologist performs catheter ablation to create more scar tissue inside of the heart. We also offer the traditional open-heart Cox maze procedure.
  • Device insertion: This is a small piece of medical equipment that stays inside your body, such asa pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator, to help correct heart rhythm problems. A device like this is usually used with patients who have bradycardia (a slow heart rhythm). Dameron Hospital offers the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, which is the world's smallest pacemaker — one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker — and the most advanced pacing technology available.

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