Understanding the rhythms of the heart

An electrophysiologist — also referred to as a cardiac electrophysiologist, arrhythmia specialist or EP — is a doctor with a specialization in abnormal heart rhythms. Electrophysiologists test the electrical activity of your heart to diagnosis the source of your arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) to help determine a suitable treatment.
Your EP may recommend:

  • Electrical cardioversion to safely use an electrical shock to restore the heart’s rhythm to a normal beat, especially if your symptoms are severe and immediate treatment is needed to restore a normal heart rhythm.
  • Catheter ablation for fast heart rhythms including atrial fibrillation —including radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and cryoballoon ablation — to eliminate a small area of heart tissue that causes the abnormal rhythm.
  • Pacemaker, implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), or subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD) is implanted to regulate heart rhythm.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) for heart failure, in which a pacemaker is implanted into the chest with lead wires to the heart’s ventricles to make the heart beat more efficiently.
  • Left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) device placement, in which a plug is placed in a part of the heart to decrease the risk of stroke.
  • Heads-up-Tilt-Table Testing, a study often used to determine the cause of dizziness or syncope.  The patient is placed upright, while secured to a table to prevent falling and then is observed with constant blood pressure and heart rhythm monitoring to help characterize the cause of their symptoms.
  • Implantable Loop Recorder (ILR) placement, in which a small monitor is placed under the skin to monitor the heart for abnormal heart rhythms.  It is often useful in determining the cause of syncope (link to condition), strokes, or palpitations in addition to characterizing a patient’s atrial fibrillation.
  • Electrophysiology (EP) study, placing electrodes through veins in the veins of the leg to the heart to measure the electrical activity of the heart’s conduction system and observe the response to pacing maneuvers or medications.

Atrial Fibrillation Specialists

Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib), the most common type of arrhythmia, it is a rapid, irregular heartbeat. It occurs when electrical impulses cause the upper chambers in your heart to quiver or contract quickly. If you have AFib, you can trust HVA Medical Group physicians to provide education, answer questions, and create a care plan that lessens symptoms and lowers your risk of complications like stroke.