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Cardiac Arrhythmia Definition

Cardiac Arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, is a serious but treatable condition . Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses, in the heart, which coordinate the heartbeats don’t function properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.

Cardiac Arrhythmia Types

  • Paroxysmal Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia [PSVT]
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Ventricular Tachycardia
  • Ventricular Fibrillation.

Cardiac Arrhythmia Causes

  • Hypertension
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Sinus node disease
  • Tumors, Pericarditis
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Thyroid Disease, Alcohol abuse
  • Vagal stimulation
  • Smoking
  • Modern day life styles

Cardiac Arrhythmia Diagnosis

In order to diagnose an arrhythmia, doctors order specific tests, depending on the type of the arrhythmia that is suspected. In addition to the blood tests, a doctor may order:

  • Electrocardiogram / Echocardiogram.
  • 24 hour electrocardiogram using a device called Holter monitor.
  • Electrophysiology Studies (EP Diagnostic Studies) help to locate the origin of the rhythm disorder better and determine the best treatment.

Electrophysiology [EP] Study

An EP Study is a specialized procedure conducted by a trained cardiac specialist, the Electrophysiologist. In this procedure, one or more thin, flexible wires, called catheters are inserted into a blood vessel (usually the groin) and guided into the heart. Each catheter has two or more electrodes to measure the heart’ s electrical signals as they travel from one chamber to another.

EP studies are done to diagnose your cardiac rhythm abnormality, to help determine the best treatment, and to pinpoint the site where therapy may be useful.

Radiofrequency [RF] Catheter Ablation

After an EP study, RF catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and guided into the heart to pinpoint the source of the abnormal electrical signals. These catheters used to deliver a low-voltage, high-frequency current that destroys the heart tissue responsible for the arrhythmia. Majority of the patients who have undergone catheter ablation experience either: (a) return to normal heart rhythm, or (b) long term reduction in the number of episodes of arrhythmia and the severity of symptoms. This means that medicines for controlling heart rate or rhythm may be stopped or reduced following successful catheter ablation.

3D Mapping System [Carto 3]

The latest technology [CARTO 3 System] gives the three-dimensional view of the patient’s heart which helps the Electrophysiologist to identify the site of origin of the abnormal rhythm accurately and deliver the Radiofrequency catheter ablation therapy with high success rate.

The benefits of the curative catheter ablation therapy are mentioned below.

  • Better Quality of Care: Most cardiac arrhythmias can be treated and cured by catheter ablation thereby eliminating the need for life-long therapy.
  • Better Quality of Life: Catheter Ablation can restore the quality of life of the patient leading to a happier family life and improved productivity at workplace.
  • Saves Lives: Some life-threatening Ventricular Arrhythmias can be successfully treated with catheter ablation thereby providing patients with an option to live.
  • Cost-effective: The overall lifecycle costs of care for the patient may be reduced due the curative nature of catheter ablation therapy. Alternative device therapies can be more than five times costlier.
  • Catheter ablation is considered safe and is not associated with a significant risk, so the chance of experiencing complications is low. And it is a keyhole procedure which allows the patient to get back to their work soon after the procedure.

Common Arrhythmias Treated With RF Ablation

Supraventricular Tachycardia:

Paroxysmal Supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) generally describes the rapid beating of the heart originating from upper chambers. Most common forms of SVT include atrioventricular node reentry (AVNRT), atrioventricular reentry (AVRT), and focal atrial tachycardia.

Atrial Flutter:

Atrial flutter (AFL) is a rapid beating the upper chambers, the atria. AFL is characterized by a fast, very regular atrial rate (close to 300 beats a minute). AFL can also lead to pooling of the blood in the atria that can cause an increased risk of blood clot formation and elevated risk for stroke.

Atrial Fibrillation:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart rhythm disorder. AF is the chaotic quivering of the upper chambers of the heart, the atria. This quivering reduces the efficiency of the heart and can lead to a rapid heart rate. In addition to rate problems, AF causes blood to pool in parts of the atria that increases the risk of forming clots that could lead to a stroke.

Ventricular Tachycardia:

Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) is the rapid beating of the two lower chambers of the heart. VT can be a life threatening arrhythmia if not treated.

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UPDATED ON 15/11/2023

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