Heart Center: Electrophysiology

Diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the heart's electrical system (also known as arrhythmias or dysrhythmias).

EKG

A electrocardiogram (EKG) is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart that provides the medical staff information about heart rate, heart rhythm and abnormalities of the structure of the heart. It is also used to evaluate many forms of heart disease.

Holter Monitor

When the medical staff requires an extended measurement of the heart's electrical activity, they use a Holter monitor, which is a device that records an EKG over a period of time, usually 24 hours. To gather this information, a small device records a continuous EKG from electrodes that are attached to the patient's chest. This test is most commonly used to determine the presence of an abnormal heart rate or heart rhythm.

Transtelephonic Monitor

A transtelephonic monitor, otherwise known as even recorder, is a small recorder that can be sent home with patients with symptoms suggestive of an arrhythmia. Since these symptoms sometimes happen infrequently, or pass so quickly that the patient can’t be transported to the hospital in time for it to be recorded by a standard EKG, an event monitor may be used. When arrhythmia symptoms occur, the patient can activate the recorder. Newer devices may be programmed to record abnormalities automatically. The electrocardiogram will be recorded, stored and can be transmitted by phone to the cardiologist to be analyzed. Typically patients wear this device for two to four weeks.

Implanted Loop Recorders

An implanted loop recorder is a small cardiac monitor used to continuously monitor the heart rhythm on a 24 hour basis. It is placed under the skin through a small incision. Similar to the transtelephonic monitor, the electrocardiogram will be recorded, stored and can be transmitted by phone to the cardiologist to be analyzed. This device has a battery life of over one year and is useful to detect infrequent arrhythmias and can be used in situations where the transtelephonic monitor is not practical, such as contact sports.

Pacemaker

A pacemaker can be used to restore a normal heart beat. It is a silver dollar-sized, battery-powered device that uses weak electric impulses to cause the heart muscle to contract. Permanent pacemakers are placed into the chest or abdomen through a small incision. Small wires either are passed through the blood vessels or attached directly to the outside of the heart to carry the electric impulse to the heart, Temporary pacemakers are outside the body and most commonly used to regulate the heart following surgery.