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Cardiac Electrophysiology Program at UPMC Presbyterian

The Division of Cardiology's Cardiac Electrophysiology Program at UPMC Presbyterian is the largest in the region treating the full range of arrhythmias and other disorders associated with a high risk of sudden death. We offer a full range of treatments, including medications; pacemakers and defibrillators; and radiofrequency ablation, to treat the most therapy-resistant cases of arrhythmia.

The Cardiac Elecrophysiology (EP) Program is known for its outstanding clinical care. This program, with nationally renowned faculty members, ranks as one of the largest in the country. This size has a definite payoff for UPMC heart patients: The group has the depth and breadth of experience needed to offer a full range of treatments for:

  • Tachycardia – too-fast heartbeat
  • Bradycardia – too-slow heartbeat
  • Syncope – heart-associated fainting
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Other disorders associated with high risk of sudden death

Subspecialty centers for the evaluation and management of atrial arrhythmias and of infected implanted pacemakers and other heart-rhythm devices make this program unique in western Pennsylvania. The EP program is also internationally known for its research into the underlying causes of arrhythmia and in using those discoveries to develop improved methods for diagnosis and treatment.

The staff of the Cardiac EP Program work closely and collaboratively with physicians in the community to provide the most expeditious, integrated care possible. All patients referred to the program are offered an appointment for evaluation within a few days of the initial referral.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory

The electrophysiology facilities at UPMC Presbyterian offer safe and efficient delivery of care for patients with arrhythmia-related problems. The Invasive Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratories are specially equipped with operating room laminar airflow for enhanced sterility. They feature biplane fluoroscopic imaging capabilities for complex catheter ablations as well as state-of-the-art intracardiac monitoring and recording equipment.

The Noninvasive Electrophysiology Laboratory boasts advanced technology, including 32- and 192-lead body surface ping equipment to sensitively detect T-wave alternans, as well as the most reliable methods of heart rate variability determination using algorithms perfected by engineers at the University of Pittsburgh. Pacemaker tests and follow up are efficiently conducted with a new pacemaker analyzing system.

Atrial Arrhythmia

The Atrial Arrhythmia Center at UPMC Presbyterian is a first-of-its-kind unit dedicated to the management and education of patients with atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias of the atria – the upper chambers of the heart. The core philosophy of the Atrial Arrhythmia Center is disease-centered. Our electrophysiologists recognize that atrial arrhythmias commonly do not occur in isolation, but rather in association with obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and other causes of hypertension. The center is dedicated to the management of the patient's whole condition in addition to being at the forefront in the development of new modalities for treating atrial arrhythmias:

  • Leadership in national and international trials and frequent publication of research have garnered international recognition as a center of excellence.
  • The Center is the only one in the region offering minimally invasive atrial surgery.
  • The Center maintains a basic research unit dedicated to the development and refinement of nondrug techniques to treat atrial arrhythmia.

Investigative Approaches

In addition to standard therapies, the Cardiac Electrophysiology Program offers a number of investigative approaches not currently available at any other center in the region. It is a leading national site for several of these studies:

  • Biventricular pacing therapies for expanding populations of patients suffering from congestive heart failure
  • Protocols utilizing the newest pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and equipment for catheter ablation
  • Research focusing on prediction of arrhythmia onset
  • Research focusing on electrogram analysis and mathematical modeling of intracardiac signals
  • Research focusing on novel algorithms aiming at differentiating life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias from benign supraventricular arrhythmias
  • Comprehensive basic research programs studying the molecular biology and genetics of cardiac arrhythmia
  • National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs investigating genetic and clinical risk factors for sudden death

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