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Arrhythmia Techniques and Treatments
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At the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute, our interventional electrophysiologists utilize a number of procedures and techniques to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Interventional Techniques

  • 3-D Arrhythmia Mapping: a 3D- visual of the heart is created using an electromagnetic mapping system. This helps detect the site of origin of abnormal electrical impulses and helps guide accurate manipulation of catheters within the heart during catheter ablation, while reducing the amount of x-ray exposure to the patient and the physician.
  • Catheter Ablation Techniques: after the arrhythmia has been mapped using either fluoroscopic or 3-D mapping techniques, the origin can be targeted using ablation energy. Ablation destroys abnormal cells inside the heart that cause arrhythmias. Ablation energy comes in two predominant forms – heat energy or cold energy:
    • Radio Frequency Ablation (Heat): a small-tip catheter is used to destroy abnormal cells so the erratic electrical signals are normalized. St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute is the first hospital in Greater Cincinnati to utilize the THERMOCOOL® SMARTTOUCH® Catheter that enables the physician to directly measure the amount of contact force applied to the heart wall during a catheter ablation procedure, which can improve effectiveness of the procedure.
    • Cryoablation (Freezing): a catheter delivers cold energy to freeze the heart tissue and ultimately destroy abnormal cells.
    • Cryoballoon: a catheter that has a balloon tip capable of freezing the tissue inside the heart that causes atrial fibrillation.


Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices

  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT or Heart Pacemakers): an implanted device to control heartbeat
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD): an implanted device that can detect and correct dangerous arrhythmias. 
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy-Defibrillator (CRT-D): a combination pacemaker and defibrillator. St. Elizabeth was the first in Greater Cincinnati to implant  a version with more options to customize the therapy for each individual patient’s needs. Click here to learn more.
  • Leadless Pacemaker: a pacemaker placed directly in a patient’s heart without the visible lump, scar and insulated wires (called leads) required for conventional pacemakers. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is the only hospital in greater Cincinnati to implant the Nanostim™ leadless pacemaker, as part of the LEADLESS II Clinical Trial. Click here to learn more.
  • MRI-compatible Pacemaker: a pacemaker that allows patients to utilize MRI diagnostic testing if needed. Patients with traditional pacemakers cannot receive MRIs
  • Subcutaneous Arrhythmia Detection Devices and Implantable Loop Recorders (ILR): implanted devices that monitor heart activity and rhythm
  • Subcutaneous Defibrillator: an implanted device that can detect and correct dangerous arrhythmias that does not require wires into the heart


Lead Extraction Program

  • Laser Lead Extraction: removal of wires (leads) placed in the heart for pacemakers and other implanted devices


Other EP Procedures

  • Cardioversion: an electrical shock is delivered to the heart through paddles or patches placed on the chest to reset the electrical activity within the heart. The shock is delivered during sedation (painless), and patients go home the same day. With electrical cardioversions, there is a high chance of atrial fibrillation recurrence. However, it is worth doing in select cases to supplement the effects of medications that your doctor selects to maintain normal rhythm. Blood thinners are prescribed for 4 weeks before the cardioversion is attempted to reduce the risk of stroke followed by a minimum of another 4 weeks of blood thinners after the procedure. An alternative to this strategy, is performing a trans-esophageal echocardiogram or an ultrasound of the heart on the day of the procedure instead of waiting the 4 weeks, proceed with the electrical cardioversion, followed by a minimum of 4 weeks of the blood thinner medication.
  • Life Vest: a wearable external defibrillator that monitors heart rhythm and can provide a life-saving shock to a person experiencing a dangerous arrhythmia.


If you are scheduled for any of these treatments and would like to speak with someone from our office for more information, please call (859) 331-3353.

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