Arrhythmia Management and Treatment
The Louis & Peaches Owen Heart Hospital is the leading provider of arrhythmia management in East Texas, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke. Our electrophysiology program treated the highest volume of complex procedures and is the longest-established program in the region.
Our electrophysiology lab has the most comprehensive equipment of any in the region, including two 3D mapping systems, intracardiac echocardiolography, open irrigated tip catheters for ablation, and an excimer laser. Moreover, we were the first in the state of Texas to use remote magnetic navigation technology for ablations of various arrhythmias.
Treating patients from teens to 100+ years old, we offer a number of experimental procedures available only through a leading-edge research program.
Trinity Clinic Electrophysiologist Dr. John Sims talks about
atrial fibrillation, what causes it and ways to manage it.
To pump, the heart needs an electrical system. This system contains electrical cells. These cells create and move signals that tell the heart when to beat. Some of these cells form groups called nodes. Others form pathways that carry signals through the heart.
With atrial flutter, signals travel around and around inside the atria. Circling signals tell the atria to beat quickly (around 200 to 300 bpm). Atrial flutter can cause symptoms similar to atrial fibrillation. It can also lead to the even faster, uneven rhythms of atrial fibrillation.
With atrial fibrillation, cells in the atria send extra signals make the atria beat very quickly (from 400 to 500 bpm) and unevenly. (The ventricles may beat as fast as 180 bpm.) The atria beat so fast and unevenly that they may quiver instead of contracting. If the atria don't contract, they don't move enough blood into the ventricles. This is what leads to symptoms such as dizziness and weakness. Blood that isn't kept moving can pool and form clots in the atria. These clots can move into other parts of the body and cause serious problems, such as a stroke.
• An arrhythmia is an abnormality or disturbance in the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.
• Arrhythmias are caused by problems with the heart's electrical system, which normally causes a heartbeat to begin and sends electrical impulses through the heart.
• Arrhythmias range from simply annoying but not dangerous to those that produce significant cardiac symptoms or loss of consciousness.
• Arrhythmias are associated with aging and typically happen more frequently during middle age.
• At least 10 to 15 percent of people older than 70 years experience arrhythmias.
Arrhythmias can be caused by:
• Scarring of heart tissue (such as from a heart attack)
• Changes to the heart’s structure, such as from cardiomyopathy
• Blocked arteries (coronary artery disease)
• High blood pressure
• Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
• Drug abuse
• Too much alcohol or caffeine intake
• Dietary supplements and herbal treatments
• Electrical shock
An arrhythmia may require medical treatment when it occurs repeatedly over an extended period with symptoms such as:
• Syncope (fainting)
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain