Diagnosing Your Arrhythmia With an Electrophysiology Study

Is there a more classic horror movie trope than the electricity in the old mansion going out at the worst time possible? These movies take a lot of liberties, but the probability that an old house could have electrical issues are actually pretty high. As it turns out, your body may have the same problem.

The electric systems that control many of the body’s most important functions can go a little haywire after working 24/7 for decades. When the electricity in your heart starts to go off-kilter, you may have an arrhythmia. If left undiagnosed or untreated, an arrhythmia can have dire consequences. 

Do you think you may have an arrhythmia? If so, come see the team at Phoenix Heart. We were recently voted No. 1 in cardiology groups by Ranking Arizona magazine and we set the bar in cardiovascular care. Our medical team is also consistently at the forefront of adopting the newest and best technologies to advance the health of our patients. 

If you have an arrhythmia, our team may perform an electrophysiology study to check the rhythm of your heart and guide treatment. Read on to find out more about arrhythmia and how an electrophysiology study can help.

What is an arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is any problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. Electric impulses control and maintain the beat of your heart. When the impulses come too quickly, too slowly, or erratically, your heartbeat matches them.

The rhythm of your heart may not sound like a big deal as long as it still works, but the rest of your body depends on regular amounts of blood from the heart. When the heart can’t pump blood effectively, the lungs, brain and all other organs can't work properly and may shut down or become damaged.

Types of arrhythmia

There are multiple types of arrhythmia, depending on the speed or location of the misfiring heartbeat. Bradycardias are slow heartbeats and tachycardias are fast heartbeats. You may also have seen ads about atrial fibrillation, when the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly.

Treatments largely depend on the type of arrhythmia. Bradycardias are often solved with a pacemaker while tachycardias may be better treated with medication.

Symptoms

Arrhythmia symptoms vary, and there is no guarantee you’ll feel anything related to your arrhythmia until you’re tested. Common symptoms include: 

Although some arrhythmias are not serious, they can increase your risk of stroke or cardiac arrest. Arrhythmias can arise due to a number of factors but are more common in the elderly, especially those over 65.

Electrophysiology study

An electrophysiology study is used to evaluate the electrical activity and rhythm of the heart. After an anesthetic has been applied, a catheter is inserted into a large vein, guided to your heart, and positioned using X-ray guided imaging. 

The first section of the study basically records your heart’s normal electrical signals to get a baseline. Once this step is completed, your Phoenix Heart doctor purposefully triggers an arrhythmia. The induced arrhythmia, when combined with the inserted catheter, helps detect what’s causing the arrhythmia while also providing valuable data on what type of treatment may work best for you.

Don’t let an arrhythmia go undetected. An electrophysiology study at Phoenix Heart will help make sure your heart’s electrical systems are running smoothly. Call or request an appointment at one of our five Phoenix area offices today.

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