Arrhythmia Treatment at Mary Washington & Stafford Hospitals
Electrophysiology is the study of the electrical activity and pathways
of the heart. Patients seen by an electrophysiologist are suspected of
having or have been diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
Treatment plans for arrhythmias are very patient specific. Learn more
about our treatments below.
Catheter Ablation uses radio waves or freezing to silence an abnormal area
in the heart’s electrical system, which is usually found during
an electrophysiology study. Ablation is one option for treating arrhythmias
(abnormal heart rhythm).
Three types of ablation:
- Electrical or Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation
- AV Node Ablation
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that’s
placed in your chest or abdomen. This device uses electrical pulses or
shocks to help control life-threatening,
irregular heartbeats, especially those that could lead the heart to suddenly stop beating (sudden
cardiac arrest). If the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the
brain and other vital organs. This usually causes death if it’s
not treated in minutes. Placing an ICD requires minor surgery, which is
usually done in a hospital. You will be given medicine right before the
surgery that will help you relax and may make you fall asleep. Your doctor
will give you a local anesthetic so you won’t feel anything in the
area where the doctor puts the ICD.
Once you have an ICD, you have to avoid close or prolonged contact with
electrical devices or devices that have strong magnetic fields.
Devices that can interfere with an ICD include:
- Cell phones
- Appliances, such as microwave ovens
- High-tension wires
- Metal detectors
- Industrial welders
- Electrical generators
These devices disrupt the electrical signaling of your ICD and stop it
from working properly. You can still use household appliances and cell
phones, but avoid close and prolonged exposure. You can walk through security
system metal detectors. Someone can check you with a metal detector wand
as long as it isn’t held for too long over your ICD site.
New Micra® Wireless Pacemaker
The Medtronic Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device, approved
for Medicare reimbursement, that provides patients with the most advanced
pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker. The
first procedure a was performed at Mary Washington Hospital by Dr. Ashok
Talreja, Cardiologist, on March 2, 2018.
Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm,
usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable
to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or
exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting
spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help
restore the heart's normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending
electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.
What is the Micra®
Comparable in size to a large vitamin, the Micra TPS is a miniaturized
heart device designed to provide the most advanced pacing technology –
all while being cosmetically invisible.
Made by Medtronic, the Micra TPS is unlike traditional pacemakers because
the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket”
under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy.
Designed to provide a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers –
without the complications associated with leads – the Micra TPS
is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly
into the heart with small tines and delivers electrical impulses that
pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device.
Customized to each patient’s needs, the Micra TPS automatically adjusts
pacing therapy based on a person’s activity levels.
Doctors often treat irregular heartbeats with a device called a pacemaker.
A permanent pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin
(most often in the shoulder area just under the collarbone), and sends
electrical signals to start or regulate a slow heartbeat. A permanent
pacemaker may be used to make the heart beat if the heart is not functioning
properly and has developed an abnormal heart rate or rhythm (arrhythmias)
or if the electrical pathways are blocked. Pacemakers are typically used
for slow arrhythmias such as sinus bradycardia, sick sinus syndrome, or