Arrhythmia is an irregular heart beat caused by a malfunction in the electrical impulses to the heart.
During arrhythmia, the heart either beats:
Almost everyone experiences an occasional skipped heart beat, fluttering, or racing heart beat.
While most events are harmless, some people have arrhythmias that are bothersome and sometimes dangerous.
» See the symptoms of arrhythmia.
» See the symptoms of arrhythmia.
The UPMC Cardiac Electrophysiology Program is the largest in western Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the United States.
We treat heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, and other heart disorders associated with a high risk of sudden death.
Some arrhythmias occur without symptoms.
Others may cause noticeable symptoms, such as:
At UPMC, your initial evaluation for arrhythmia includes:
In particular, the doctor will listen to your heart with a stethoscope.
Following your exam, your doctor may order additional tests and procedures to help confirm an arrhythmia diagnosis, such as:
Testing resultsYour doctor or nurse will tell you when to expect your test results and will call you when they're available.
If your doctor detects an arrhythmia, you may need various tests to determine the cause and the best cardiac arrhythmia treatment.
Some less serious types of arrhythmia do not require treatment, but regular checkups are recommended.
Most often, your doctor will prescribe heart arrhythmia medications to control the heart rhythm.
UPMC’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Program offers a full range of treatments for the most therapy-resistant cases of cardiac arrhythmias, including:
The goals of arrhythmia treatment are to:
Your doctor may prescribe medicine and order certain procedures to meet these treatment goals.
To slow the heart rate
To maintain a regular heart rhythm
To prevent clot formation and help reduce the risk of stroke
Blood thinners such as:
Our program leaders are experts at ablation techniques and have authored book chapters and research publications on the subject.
During ablation therapy, we position a thin wire (catheter) inside your heart near the pulmonary veins.
Our doctors are performing research into the underlying causes of arrhythmia and are using their discoveries to develop improved methods for diagnosing and treating arrhythmias.
Learn more about heart and vascular treatments at UPMC.
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