Procedures to correct an irregular heartbeat
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Treatments for arrhythmias, or heart rhythm disorders, vary based on the type and severity of your condition. Some arrhythmias don’t need any treatment at all. Your doctor may recommend treatment if you’re experiencing significant symptoms or if you’re at risk for developing more serious conditions.
The doctors in our Electrophysiology Program use the latest treatments and technologies to care for patients with even the most complex arrhythmias. Our cardiac electrophysiologists see patients at multiple sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, so you can receive care close to home. We also have the most experienced specialists in the mid-Atlantic to use the WATCHMAN™ device, which can help prevent strokes caused by atrial fibrillation, a type of heart rhythm disorder.
In addition to medication and lifestyle changes, you may be a candidate for a number of therapies, implantable devices or surgical procedures. We’ll work with you to decide which is best for your unique situation.
Your doctor may recommend one of the following treatment options if your heartbeat is too fast or irregular:
- Cardiac ablation, which destroys a small area of heart tissue that’s causing irregular heart rhythms
- Electrical cardioversion, which uses electricity to restore a normal heart rhythm
- Pulmonary vein isolation, a type of cardiac ablation that targets the heart’s pulmonary veins, which often are the starting point for atrial fibrillation (AFib)
Your doctor may recommend an implantable device for ongoing control of your heart rhythm condition. The devices we offer include:
- Pacemaker, which is used primarily to treat heart rhythms that are too slow
- Biventricular pacemaker, used in cardiac resynchronization therapy to keep the heart’s chambers pumping together in patients with heart failure
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), which monitors your heart for fast or irregular heartbeats and treats them to restore a normal heartbeat
You may need surgery if you haven’t responded to other forms of treatment. One such surgery is the Maze procedure, which creates a maze-like pattern of scar tissue on the heart to interfere with electrical signals causing your arrhythmia.
We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.
A type of irregular heart rhythm in which the upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat too quickly.
Bundle branch blocks occur when the pathways that carry electrical impulses to the muscular walls of the two lower heart chambers, or ventricles, travel too slowly.
Premature atrial contractions are an often-benign condition that causes you to feel as if your heart is skipping beats.
Premature ventricular contractions result in an extra heartbeat that starts in one of the heart’s lower chambers, the ventricles.
Supraventricular tachycardia is an abnormally fast heartbeat that originates above the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers), in the atria (the heart’s upper chambers) or the AV node (the heart’s electrical system).
Ventricular fibrillation is a type of heart rhythm disorder that prevents the heart from pumping blood. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate emergency care.
Ventricular tachycardia is a type of heart rhythm disorder in which the heart’s lower chambers beat dangerously fast.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.
A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.
A loop recorder is a device that’s implanted underneath the skin of your chest to record your heart rhythm for up to three years.