Helping control abnormal heart rhythms
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
A pacemaker is a small device implanted in your chest that helps control various types of heart rhythm disorders. Traditional pacemakers, which weigh about an ounce, include a pulse generator, which produces electrical energy to control heartbeats. That energy travels along one or more leads, which are connected to the heart’s muscle. The electrical energy causes the heart to beat.
Our Electrophysiology Program is the mid-Atlantic region’s leading referral program for patients with heart rhythm disorders. Our advanced lab lets us treat and manage even the most complex cases.
What to expect during pacemaker procedure
Depending on your condition, you may be a candidate for a leadless pacemaker, which goes directly into the heart. Learn more about leadless pacemakers.
If you’re receiving a traditional pacemaker, you and your doctor will discuss any medications you take and whether you should keep taking them before the procedure. On the day of your procedure, you’ll receive an IV line so we can give you medication. We’ll clean your chest and shave it if necessary. You’ll receive local anesthesia to numb the surgical area, along with a sedative to help you relax.
The doctor will make an incision on your chest. The doctor will then put the lead or leads in place in your heart and connect them to the pulse generator, which the doctor will implant in a pocket of skin (usually in the upper chest). We’ll test your pacemaker to make sure it’s working properly.
The procedure usually lasts a few hours. Afterward, you’ll need to tell medical personnel, airport security professionals and others in areas with electromagnetic energy that you have a pacemaker. Your doctor will go over specific details with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a card with you stating that you have a pacemaker.
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.
An arrhythmia is an abnormal or irregular heartbeat caused by a disturbance in the electrical impulses that coordinate your heart rate. This can cause your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a type of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) in which the heart’s two upper chambers do not beat in sync with the two lower chambers.
Bradycardia is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) in which the heart beats slower than 60 times a minute.
Syncope, commonly called fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a drop in blood flow to the brain.
Heart block, also known as atrioventricular (AV) block, is a partial or total blockage of the electrical signal that controls the heartbeat.
Sarcoidosis causes lumps to form in your heart, lungs or lymph nodes and can damage these organs.
Short QT syndrome is a disruption of the heart’s electrical activity that causes the recharge time between heartbeats to become too short.
Sick sinus syndrome is a malfunction of the heart’s sinus node, which controls heart rhythms. This causes the heart to beat too quickly or too slowly or leads to long pauses between heartbeats.
Tachycardia is a type of abnormal heart rhythm in which the heart beats much faster than it should while a person is at rest.
Tachy-brady syndrome is a type of irregular heartbeat in which the heart fluctuates between beating too quickly and too slowly.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
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.
Electrophysiology testing is used to evaluate the cause and location of an abnormal heartbeat (known an an arrhythmia).
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.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.
Tilt table testing allows your doctor to determine the cause of explained fainting while monitoring changes in your blood pressure and heart rate while tilted at different angles.