Did you know that WellSpan’s cardiologists are also electricians?
We don’t think about our heartbeat very often, but there’s a lot going on with each “thub-dub.” The heart’s four chambers—the left and right atria, and the left and right ventricles—contract and expand in a perfectly synchronized sequence in order to pump fresh, oxygenated blood throughout the body.
Ensuring that each chamber contracts and expands at the right time and speed is the responsibility of the heart’s electrical system. If there’s a problem with the electrical “circuitry,” your heart’s normal rhythm can be thrown off, a condition called arrhythmia. Whether your heart is beating too fast, too slow or erratically, it means that blood isn’t being pumped effectively, and that can lead to serious health consequences such as heart attack or stroke.
WellSpan electrophysiologists are experts in the science of cardiac electrophysiology—the electrical system that keeps your heart beating properly. With decades of combined experience—coupled with the latest research—they can accurately diagnose and successfully treat a broad range of conditions related to arrhythmia.
As a patient, you can count on your care team to create a treatment plan that puts your goals first. Then, we bring together all of the people who will work to help you achieve those outcomes: your doctors, other WellSpan providers, non-WellSpan providers, community organizations and even your friends, family and co-workers.
WellSpan’s cardiologists diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions related to arrhythmia, including:
How We Can Help
With a deep knowledge of electrophysiology, WellSpan’s cardiologists treat patients with heart rhythm-related problems using the most advanced techniques available anywhere. These include:
If you’re experiencing arrhythmia, and it’s not responding to medication or lifestyle changes, you might be a candidate for ablation. In this procedure, your WellSpan cardiologist will insert a catheter into your heart via a blood vessel. Then, he or she will apply focused heat to destroy the cells which are causing the electrical problem. Don’t worry—the procedure is painless.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or automated implantable cardioverter defibrillator is a device implantable inside the body, able to perform cardioversion, defibrillation, and pacing of the heart. The device is therefore capable of correcting most life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
Cardiologists use Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) to treat hearts that aren’t properly contracting or relaxing. With this therapy, a pacemaker is implanted in the patient’s body. The tiny computer within the pacemaker coordinates the beating of the two lower chambers of the heart, promoting better blood flow. A CRT-D device includes a defibrillation capability, which can be lifesaving if the heart is beating too fast.
Your WellSpan cardiologist may need to perform cardioversion to restore your irregular heartbeat to its normal rhythm. With pharmacological cardioversion, you’ll be given medicine that helps correct the heartbeat. Another option is electrical cardioversion, in which a very brief electrical shock is applied to the heart with the goal of resetting the rhythm. Like ablation, the procedure is painless.
Cryoablation is another form of ablation (see above). Your WellSpan cardiologist will insert a catheter into your heart in a painless procedure which destroys the cells that cause arrhythmia. While regular ablation uses heat to destroy these cells, cryoablation uses extreme cold. Your doctor will explain both options to you and answer any questions you may have.
Diagnostic electrophysiology (EP) study
Endovenous ablation for chronic venous insufficiency
The heart has a natural pacemaker called the sinoatrial node, which is a group of cells that keep the heart beating properly. However, if the node isn’t functioning and you’re experiencing arrhythmia, you may need an artificial pacemaker. A small battery-operated device implanted near your collarbone, the pacemaker sends electrical signals to the heart that ensure a regular heartbeat.
If you’ve had repeated, unexplained occurrences of fainting, it could mean you have an irregular heartbeat (among other possible causes). With a tilt table test, you’ll lie comfortably on a table as you’re elevated from a flat to a tilted position. The test records your blood pressure and heart rate at each angle, allowing your WellSpan cardiologist to assess your condition and plan further treatments if necessary.
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