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Heart arrhythmia

Heart arrhythmias are disruptions in a regular heart rhythm, which can include slow, irregular or fast heart beats. They occur when the electrical impulses to the heart stray from their normal sequence and can range from being harmless to life-threatening.

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Arrhythmia treatments in Plantation, Florida

The cardiology team at HCA Florida Westside Hospital specializes in caring for your heart, including treating heart arrhythmias.

Here, in our Electrophysiology Lab in Broward County, Florida, we provide advanced diagnostic services and multiple methods of treatment for abnormal heart rhythms. We will personalize your care and help you get the treatment and resources you need to lead a heart-healthy life.

Know your heart health

It's essential to understand your heart health because early intervention can help prevent serious heart conditions. A good place to start is by taking our heart health risk assessment.

It's essential to understand your heart health because early intervention can help prevent serious heart conditions. A good place to start is by taking our heart health risk assessment.

Our heart arrhythmia treatments and services

We can help diagnose and treat your heartbeat irregularities. Some of the services we offer include:

Cardiac electrophysiology (EP) services to diagnose arrhythmias 

EP is the study of the heart's electrical system. During an EP study, your physician inserts a catheter into your arm, wrist or groin and guides it to your heart. Electrical pulses are sent through the catheter to trigger possible abnormal heartbeats. Your EP specialist then measures your heart's signals to identify the source of a potential arrhythmia.

Next, your doctor may order other diagnostic exams, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs). They use all this information to determine which medicines or procedures may work best to treat the arrhythmia and reduce your risk for other heart problems.

Arrhythmia treatments we offer

We offer a wide range of options to treat atrial fibrillation (AFib) and other heartbeat irregularities. Our experienced heart rhythm specialists and electrophysiologists will determine the best treatment path for your specific needs. These may include:

  • Cardioversion: Cardioversion is the delivery of an electric shock to the chest through electrodes or paddles. The shock is given to correct a dangerous heart rhythm. Cardioversion can be done as an elective (scheduled) procedure or may be done urgently if an abnormal heartbeat is life-threatening.
  • Catheter ablation: The purpose of a catheter ablation is to eliminate areas of the heart that are generating abnormal heart rhythms. An electrophysiologist will guide an ablating catheter to the site(s), which treats defective tissue by emitting painless electromagnetic energy to ablate (destroy) the defective areas.
  • Cryoablation: Cryoablation is a catheter ablation procedure that uses very cold temperatures to freeze the defective tissue, thereby restoring a standard heart rhythm.
  • Medications: Medications that control the heart rate or rhythm are prescribed, along with blood thinners, to reduce the likelihood of stroke.
  • Pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion: A pacemaker is generally implanted under the collarbone to regulate your heartbeat by electrical wire leads threaded through the veins, chest and then to the heart. An ICD is implanted into the chest to monitor the heart rate and, if necessary, deliver electrical therapy to restore a normal rhythm.

As part of our comprehensive approach to treatment, we also help identify any lifestyle changes that may help treat your abnormal heart rhythm. For example, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise may reduce the frequency, duration and severity of AFib episodes. Your care team will talk to you about any lifestyle changes that may aid in managing and treating your condition.

More about arrhythmias

Knowing more about arrhythmias, especially AFib, the most common arrhythmia, can help you know when to seek help.

Symptoms of arrhythmias

Some symptoms of heart arrhythmias include:

  • Difficulty exercising
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Irregular or rapid pulse or heartbeat
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Palpitations or a pounding feeling in the chest
  • Racing feeling in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

AFib

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder and is caused by rapid or erratic electrical signals that disrupt blood flow in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). The lower two chambers are called the ventricles.

A standard heartbeat occurs when an electrical signal in the atria is followed by an electrical signal in the ventricles. Ordinarily, the atria pulses about 60 to 100 beats per minute (BPM). AFib occurs when the atria quivers and pulses at about 500 BPM.

At this rate, the heart cannot steadily pump blood. The result is a very irregular, rapid heartbeat.

Less blood in the heart means there will be less blood pumped out to the body. This can also cause blood to become trapped and pool in the upper chambers of the heart. Decreased blood flow in the body, including the brain, can also lead to blood clots or a cerebrovascular accident (stroke).

Causes of AFib

AFib is often caused by an existing heart condition, such as high blood pressure or a leaky heart, which stretches one of or both upper two chambers of the heart. When those chambers are subject to stress or are stretched, they can start to quiver, resulting in fibrillation.

AFib can occur in people with no other heart problems. If you experience AFib with no obvious or identifiable cause for the condition, you may have "lone atrial fibrillation."

Dr. David Kenigsberg - Atrial Fibrillation

David N. Kenigsberg, MD, FACC, FHRS is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist who has been practicing electrophysiology in South Florida since 2007. Dr. Kenigsberg is the medical director of the electrophysiology laboratory at Westside Hospital in Plantation, Florida.
Dr. David Kenigsberg sitting behind his desk

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