EP Studies and Cardiac Treatment in Fort Worth
Simply put, electrophysiology is the study of the heart's electrical conduction system. This is the "circuitry" that controls the rhythmic contractions of the heart, keeping blood pumping and circulating throughout the body.
An electrophysiology (EP) study is a test to see if there is a problem with your heart beat and to find out how to fix it. An electrode catheter is first inserted into the heart. These catheters transmit electrical currents to and from the heart.
Using these electrode catheters and sophisticated computers, an EP study can generate electrocardiogram (EKG) tracings and electrical measurements, which are used to detect heart abnormalities. In addition, EP studies can be used in certain procedures such as pacemaker implantation and cardiac ablation.
- Pacemaker Implant: A small, electronic device inserted under the skin to help the heart beat regularly and at a proper pace. Learn about some of the pacemakers used at our hospital.
- Bi-ventricular Pacemaker: A type of implantable pacemaker that regulates both the ventricles (the heart's pumping chambers) together. Learn about some of the bi-ventricular pacemakers used at our hospital.
- Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator: This surgically inserted electronic device constantly monitors your heart rate and rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers electrical energy to the heart muscle to help the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again. Learn about some of the implantable cardioverter defibrillators used at our hospital.
- Intracardiac Loop Recorder: A small recorder/monitor that is attached to electrodes on your chest. It is worn continuously for a period of time. If symptoms are felt, an event button can be pressed, and the heart's rhythm is recorded and saved in the recorder.
Laser Lead Extractions
A pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator delivers energy to the heart muscle through wires called leads. A laser lead extraction involves removing and replacing the old lead from a pacemaker or defibrillator that has already been implanted.
Nonsurgical, catheter-based cardiac ablations have revolutionized treatment for abnormally rapid heartbeats by replacing anti-arrhythmic drug therapies.
"Ablation" means removal. In this case, energy from heat or freezing cold is used to inactivate some of the abnormal conduction pathways in the heart that are causing the abnormal heartbeats. Delivered through a catheter, the energy destroys a portion of the abnormal electrical conduction pathways to provide a more consistent flow of electrical impulses.
At Medical City Fort Worth in Fort Worth, we use ablations to treat the following arrhythmias:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Atrial Tachycardia
- Ventricular Fibrillation
- Ventricular Tachycardia
- Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome
We perform a variety of state-of-the-art cardiac ablations, including:
- Radiofrequency catheter ablations - the standard ablation technique that uses radiofrequency energy to burn the tissue causing arrhythmia
- Cool-tip catheter ablations - an advanced technique in which the tip of the catheter is kept cool so as not to damage unnecessary tissue
- Cryoablations - one of the most sophisticated ablation methods available; because cryoablations use freezing cold energy, the destroyed tissue can actually be thawed and restored if needed; this technique also offers much more control so healthy tissue goes untouched.
For many people with heart disease, drugs alone will not convert an arrhythmia to a normal heart rhythm. For these people, a procedure called cardioversion may be necessary. The patient is sedated, and a very brief current of electricity is administered to the chest to stop an irregular heartbeat and replace it with a normal rhythm. As a result, the heart is allowed to pump more effectively.
Cardioversion can be used to treat many types of fast and/or irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
Tilt Table Studies
This is a test used to evaluate patients who have had problems with fainting spells. The exam involves lying quietly on a bed and being tilted at different angles (30 to 60 degrees) for a period of time while various machines monitor your blood pressure, oxygen, and electrical impulses in your heart.