Electrophysiology at Norwalk Hospital
Electrophysiology is the subspecialty of cardiology that focuses on the electrical system of the heart. This cardiac specialty offers testing and treatments for people who have abnormal heart rhythms and disorders (called arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation).
At Norwalk Hospital’s Phyllis and David Komansky Cardiac and Vascular Center, our skilled electrophysiologists and cardiologists have advanced training in the use of equipment to record, diagnose and treat rhythm disorders, including those caused by heart valve defects.
Our electrophysiology services include:
Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD): These are implanted devices that help keep the heart beating regularly. Most pacemakers are used to keep the heart from beating too slowly and most defibrillators treat abnormally fast heartbeats.
Pacemakers are implanted under the skin and connected to wires (called "leads") that transmit tiny electrical pulses to the heart muscle to maintain a normal heart rate. Pacemakers are mostly used to prevent the heart from beating too slowly.
Follow-up care for pacemakers: You’ll see your doctor at least once each year for a full “interrogation” (testing) of your pacemaker to ensure that the lead and battery system is working well, set at the optimal rate for your health and is working well. At the same visit, your cardiologist will determine if any adjustments need to be made to its settings. These are quick visits, typically taking 10-15 minutes, and are non-invasive.
Defibrillators are mostly used to treat very fast and possibly life-threatening heart rhythms. The ICD constantly monitors the heart rhythm. When it detects an abnormal and very fast heart rhythm, it delivers energy in the form of an electrical shock to the heart muscle. This returns the heart rhythm to normal. The power source is implanted in a tiny pouch under the skin of the chest or abdomen and connected to wires placed within the heart.
Sometimes called Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT), this device includes an additional wire (or lead) that helps time the contractions of the blood-pumping chambers of the heart. This sometimes improves the symptoms of advanced heart failure.
Follow-up care for Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators: To ensure that your ICD is working correctly, you’ll visit Norwalk Hospital’s Phyllis and David Komansky Cardiac and Vascular Center at least once each year for a 15-minute visit with a trained technician. He or she will use a programmer to “interrogate” (test) your device to see if you have had episodes of arrhythmia and defibrillation. At this same visit, your lead and battery system will be thoroughly checked to determine if setting changes are required.
If you are diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), you will need to have a diagnostic electrophysiology study (EPS) to identify the cause.
Performed on patients with an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), this procedure involves threading catheters through a vein into the heart to help identify the type of arrhythmia you have and its exact location. This test helps your physician determine the best treatment for your arrhythmia.
This arrhythmia treatment delivers intense heat to the heart tissue causing the abnormal rhythm.
Ablation involves threading a catheter into a vein. It travels to the heart, to the exact location of the abnormal heart rhythm. Once there, intense heat is applied to the heart tissue that causes the arrhythmia to restore a normal rhythm.
Cather ablations for atrial fibrillation are performed at Danbury Hospital, our network partner.
A Holter Monitor provides continuous heart rate monitoring for 24-72 hours.
The Holter Monitor is a portable device that you wear as you go about your normal daily activities; it records your heart rhythm for 24 to 72 hours continuously. Doctors use Holter monitoring, also known as arrhythmia monitoring, to detect intermittent heart rhythms and irregularities that may accompany certain heart conditions.