Heartbeats are stimulated by electrical pathways through your heart. If there is any disruption in these pathways, or short circuits, it can cause irregular heartbeats, some of which can be harmful. Cardiac ablation is performed under sedation, by an electrophysiologist. This is an outpatient procedure performed in the hospital. A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and threaded to the heart. An electrophysiology study is performed to pinpoint the exact electrical problem, then the ablation will either destroy or block the abnormal electrical pathway.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small electrical device that is implanted beneath the skin and muscle under your collar bone and has wires inserted into the heart walls. It evaluates for any potentially fatal heart rhythms. It has the ability to shock the heart back to normal rhythm if any of these dangerous rhythms occur. It is usually used for patients with heart failure or specific arrhythmias. It is placed by an electrophysiologist in the hospital as an outpatient procedure.
Electrical cardioversion is when electrical impulses are used to convert your heart back to normal rhythm. This is typically used in patients who have atrial fibrillation. It is done in the hospital as an outpatient procedure. The patient is sedated and pads are placed on the chest wall which will deliver the electrical current.
IMPLANTABLE LOOP RECORDER
The implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a small insertable device that is used to continuously monitor heart rhythms. These are usually used in patients who experience unexplained palpitations or loss of consciousness, as well as certain heart dysrhythmias. The new devices are smaller than a key and are inserted under the skin in the upper chest area. They are able to record your heart beats up to 3 years after implantation.
PERMANENT PACEMAKER IMPLANTATION
A pacemaker is a small device that helps the heart maintain a normal heart rhythm by sending electrical signals to the heart. This is typically used to treat arrhythmias, which is when the heart goes too slow, fast or has irregular beats. The pacemaker generator is placed under the skin of the chest wall below the collarbone and battery wires (leads) are positioned inside the heart to transmit the signal from the battery to the heart. This is done in the hospital as an outpatient procedure.