Latest Technology / Treatments
With advanced resources, including leading-edge technology in the hands of experienced clinicians, the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service offers several options to help manage arrhythmias. Scottsdale Healthcare has been the first in the Valley implementing several new technologies. Specialists at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service evaluate and recommend the best treatment plan for patients. Examples include:
- Antiarrhythmic medications
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemaker insertion
- Catheter ablation, including cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)
- Electrical cardioversion
- Complicated abalation procedures and pulmonary vein isolations
- Hansen Robotic Ablation
Your rhythmic heartbeat is controlled by a smooth, constant flow of electricity through the heart. A short-circuit anywhere along this electrical pathway can disrupt the normal flow of signals, causing an arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat). Cardiac ablation is a procedure used either to destroy these short-circuits and restore normal rhythm, or to block damaged electrical pathways from sending faulty signals to the rest of the heart.
The cardiac ablation is performed by a Cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology, known as a electrophysiologist. The procedure involves inserting catheters — narrow, flexible tubes — into a blood vessel, often through a site in your groin or neck, and threading them through the vein until they reach your heart. Using electrodes on the tip of the catheters, the “short-circuit” is either destroyed (to reopen the electrical pathway) or blocked (to prevent it from sending faulty signals to the rest of the heart). This is done by sending energy through the catheters to destroy a small amount of tissue at the site. The energy may be either hot (radiofrequency energy), which cauterizes the tissue, or extremely cold, which freezes or “cryoablates” it.
Cardiac ablation is an effective treatment for many types of arrhythmias. It is successful in 90 to 98 percent of cases, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery or long-term drug therapy.
Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing arrhythmias, lifestyle changes often are recommended. In addition, improving health can lesson the symptoms of arrhythmias and other heart disorders as well as prove beneficial to overall patient health.
Medications can control abnormal heart rhythms or treat related conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart attack. Drugs also may be administered to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with certain types of arrhythmias.
Cardioversion is a brief procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart to convert an abnormal heart rhythm back to a normal rhythm.
Although surgery is sometimes used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, it is more commonly elected to treat other cardiac problems, such as coronary artery disease and heart failure. Correcting these conditions may reduce the likelihood of arrhythmias.
Scottsdale Healthcare features the latest technologies in implantable devices to regulate arrhythmias:
- Pacemakers - Devices that regulate the heart’s rate
- Implantable Cardioverter Debifrillators (ICD’s) - Devices that deliver energy to stop life-threatening rhythms
- Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) - This program coordinates the heart’s beating and features the use of a specialized pacemaker or defibrillator to treat patients with arrhythmias and heart failure. The pacemaker therapy helps synchronize the heart’s pumping action and allows the heart’s ventricles to contract simultaneously, keeping them synchronized.
Resynchronization Therapy Procedures
Most patients are seen for three to four visits to maximize treatment therapies. We have available a variety of treatments and procedures:
- An evaluation of cardiac resynchronization therapy candidates by specialists in heart failure, electrophysiology and echocardiography
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy device implantation • A post-implant evaluation by a team of doctors and nurses, designed to individualize treatment strategies for our patients
- Patient education
- Device interrogations
- Echocardiography-guided device optimization and follow-up care
- Home or remote-monitoring and follow-up care
- Opportunities for patients to participate in cutting-edge treatment strategies
Laser Lead Removal
Cardiac Lead Extraction is a treatment option for patients who:
- Have an infection where the lead or pacemaker is implanted in the heart
- Have damage to the lead itself
- Have a buildup of scar tissue at the end of the lead, where it comes in contact with the inside of the heart. This may cause the lead to need more energy than the pacemaker or ICD can deliver
- Have interference between the lead and blood flow back to the heart
- Have interference between the lead and other leads
Cardiologists can perform lead extraction surgery using this special catheter-guided laser. This technique uses cold, controlled laser energy to free the lead from surrounding scar tissue, allowing the doctor to safely remove the lead with little risk of damaging the heart.