Electrophysiology is the study of heart rhythm abnormalities. The heart’s electrical system coordinates the motion of the four heart chambers. When the heart fires abnormally, the efficiency of the heart drops off. An abnormal rhythm (“arrhythmia”) can range from benign, asymptomatic “blips” in the heart rhythm, to malignant rhythm disturbances responsible for sudden death.
Other arrhythmias will come and go, and can be responsible for symptoms of palpitation, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, and stroke.
Fortunately, it is now possible to treat or cure most rhythm disturbances. Medications can calm an abnormally firing heart, and minimally invasive catheter ablation procedures are used to cure many arrhythmias.
It is now possible to identify patients who are at increased risk for sudden death, and our treatments are capable of dramatically improving survival in this situation. Certain rhythms are treated with implantable pacemakers or defibrillators. Some devices can improve symptoms and survival in heart failure patients.