If you have symptoms of arrhythmia such as a fluttering feeling in your chest, the sensation that your heart is beating too fast or slow, dizziness, or shortness of breath, your doctor may refer you to a cardiac electrophysiologist. These specialists diagnosis and treat arrhythmias with heart and blood vessel imaging and electrophysiological procedures.
Electrophysiology refers to a group of heart treatments that can reduce your symptoms, improve your quality of life, and reduce your risk of a complication like blood clots. Electrophysiology even holds the potential to permanently resolve heart rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation (AFib).
At Dignity Health –St. Mary Medical Center, you can trust your heart to our experts. Our electrophysiology services are part of our cardiac catheterization laboratory. This means we have the most advanced heart rhythm management equipment and technology at our fingertips, allowing us to diagnose and care for issues like atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, to perform needed angiograms and treat congestive heart failure.
Why Electrophysiology Procedures are Performed
Your heartbeat is controlled by a series of electrical impulses traveling within the heart. If these electrical impulses are firing out of sync or if the heart is producing extra impulses, the heartbeat will be irregular. Electrophysiology procedures are used to treat these conditions. The four primary types of electrophysiology procedures include:
- Cardioversion — mild shocks to the heart normalize your heartbeat
- Pacemaker — a device regulates your heart rhythm with electrical impulses
- Radiofrequency ablation — heat selectively eliminates heart cells that are sending errant electrical signals
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) — produces an image of your beating heart using sound waves
What to Expect from Electrophysiology with Dignity Health
We know planning a heart procedure can be scary, but you can rest easy when having an electrophysiology procedure performed at a Dignity Health hospital. Our team of specialists, nurses, therapists, and technicians are dedicated to making your experience as pleasant and safe as possible.
Electrophysiology procedures are generally considered low-risk, and you may even be released the same day. However, depending on your specific procedure, you may have to stay a night with us for monitoring.
Recovery After Electrophysiology
For a few days directly following your electrophysiology procedure you may have an achy chest and a surgical incision to care for, but most people heal quickly. Be aware that your heart may still beat erratically during strenuous activity. Be sure to follow any post hospitalization instructions including those regarding what activity level is allowed in the days and weeks after your procedure. Our team will provide you with all the information you need.
Serving patients with personalized care, Dignity Health offers solutions for arrhythmia with electrophysiology at St. Mary Medical Center Long Beach.