Electrophysiology & Heart Rhythm Disorders Mission Heart's advanced Electrophysiology team treats the majority of heart rhythm disorders, including: arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (Afib) atrial flutter,ventricular tachycardia (VT), Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) and others. Arrhythmia Performing over 1000 arrhythmia procedures annually, Mission Heart Center's cardiac physicians rank among the top practitioners in the field of electrophysiology (the study of the heart's electrical system). Our commitment to clinical research in this field, as well as the use of advanced technology, such as 3D mapping capabilities, increases success in treating complex arrhythmia. Are you experiencing arrhythmia? Arrhythmia is characterized by a disruption in the heart's rhythm by a malfunction of the SA node. When this signal malfunctions, you may experience an uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous change in heart rhythm. Especially in women, symptoms of arrhythmia can be mistaken for conditions such as panic, stress or anxiety, so it's important to be evaluated for cardiac problems if you have any of these symptoms. Types of arrhythmia treated at Mission Heart There are various types of arrhythmia conditions, ranging from those with little consequences to those resulting in serious complications. On-going symptoms of palpitations, irregular heart rate, fatigue, shortness of breath and light-headedness all warrant medical attention. Variations of arrhythmia that are treated at Mission Heart include: Supraventricular tachycardia Atrial fibrillation Atrial flutter Bradycardia Ventricular tachycardia Ventricular fibrillation Heart block Treating and diagnosing arrhythmias After diagnosis with EKG, stress tests or EPS (electrophysiological study,)our physicians assess whether treatment is required. When treatment is considered necessary, our cardiologists may decide on any of the following options for treatment. Lifestyle change - control of caffeine, alcohol or other drugs may relieve an arrhythmia.Stress-management and exercise also can alleviate symptoms. Medication Ablation - performed in an operating room, this procedure includes the insertion of a catheter into a groin blood vessel to the region of the heart from which the malfunction originates. High-frequency radio waves are sent into the catheter, removing the cells responsible for the malfunction. More than half of the ablations treated at Mission Hospital are complex ablations. Pacemaker - usually used for slow arrhythmia such as bradacardia or heart block, pacemakers are devices implanted under the skin to help regulate the SA node. Implantable cardioverter defibrillator - similar to a pacemaker and used for fast arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, a programmed cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is implanted under the skin and sends small electrical shocks to slow a rapid heart rate. Surgery - in extreme cases, surgical treatment is needed for arrhythmias. In surgical ablation, a procedure requiring general anesthesia, the chest is opened, the arrhythmia is located, and the faulty tissue destroyed. Maze surgical technology - this complex procedure is sometimes used to treat atrial fibrillation. A surgeon creates multiple cuts into the upper part of the atria in amaze pattern. The incisions are then stitched together to form scars. Because the scars do not carry electrical signals, the heart's normal rhythm is restored. Follow-up care and support Before you leave the hospital, our staff makes sure that appropriate support is in place to facilitate all necessary follow-up care. You are encouraged to participate in regular educational sessions at Heart Path, Mission Hospital's medically supervised, state and nationally certified cardiac rehabilitation program. Educators discuss optimal diet and exercise to maintain the best quality of life. If you have questions about heart rhythm disorders or electrophysiology at Mission Heart, call Asheville Cardiology Associates at 828-274-6000.