Heart rhythm disorders, or arrhythmias, refer to any change from the normal sequence of the heart’s electrical system- specialized networks, which stimulate the heart to squeeze and relax. The electrical impulses may occur too fast, too slow, or erratically. When the heart doesn’t beat properly it can’t pump blood to the lungs, brain and other organs. The most common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (AF) that affects nearly two million Americans. When AF occurs, the upper chambers of the heart (atria) quiver rapidly and irregularly. AF is typically not life threatening, but can cause significant quality of life concerns, and sometimes complications such as stroke. A more worrisome arrhythmia is ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation originates in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) and can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Technological advances and improved understanding of what underlies arrhythmias have lead to dramatic advances in the detection and treatment of all types of heart rhythm disorders. The key challenge is early detection, which involves identifying those who are at risk.
Berkeley Cardiovascular Medical Group uses advanced equipment and techniques to provide referring physicians with timely, accurate diagnosis and optimal therapy. Patients with complex arrhythmias are followed a combined outpatient implantable defibrillator (ICD) and congestive heart failure (CHF) clinic run by our clinical nurse specialist, Eileen Healy. The Clinic provides patient assessments, data analysis, medication initiation and titration, diagnostic and laboratory follow-up, and a comprehensive teaching program.
Our electrophysiologist, Dr. Sam Wang
- Implants dual chamber pacemakers
- Biventricular-ICD pacemakers
- Performs complex Atrial fibrillation mapping/ablation
- Performs ablation of ventricular tachycardia due to right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
- Implants the Medtronic's MRI safe pacemaker, and
- Implants Boston Scientific's newest subcutaneous implantable cardio-defibrillator (S-ICD™).
Patients also have an opportunity to be involved in new research protocols including biventricular assist devices, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and innovative pharmacological agents.