Arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment in Bradenton, Florida

The cardiologists at Blake Medical Center offer complete care to patients with heart arrhythmias (heartbeat irregularities). Our heart specialists have access to a range of diagnostic tools and advanced treatment options to provide patients the care they need for conditions such as AFib and tachycardia.

To learn more about treatments we offer for heart arrhythmias, please call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (888) 359-3552.

Electrophysiology services

Electrophysiology is the branch of medicine that studies the electrical activity of the heart. It is a key component in identifying and treating heart arrhythmias and just one part of the comprehensive cardiac care offered at Blake Medical Center.

To identify irregularities in the heart's electrical system, our specialists perform a range of diagnostic procedures, such as:

  • Electrophysiology (EP) study—An EP study assesses the electrical activity in the heart. Catheters are inserted through the blood vessels and supplemented with wire electrodes to measure electrical activity.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)—An EKG uses electrodes, placed on the chest, to produce a graph mapping out the electrical activity in the heart.
  • Holter monitoring—This is a form of continuous monitoring, generally between 24 to 48 hours, of the heart. A battery-powered device is attached to the skin with electrodes and worn for the specified amount of time.
  • Transtelephonic arrhythmia monitoring—This is a method of tracking when a patient is experiencing arrhythmia symptoms. Patients wear a device and are able to indicate when symptoms occur. The device records the event and sends the data for assessment by a physician.

Arrhythmia treatments

Once an arrhythmia is diagnosed, treatment options will be considered. Some arrhythmias are minor enough that they do not require any treatment at all, whereas others may require surgery. For many, treatment options include medication management and lifestyle changes.

Our cardiac surgeons perform the following heart procedures to treat irregular heartbeats:

  • High-intensity focused ultrasound ablation
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion
  • Pacemaker insertion
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Left atrial appendage occlusion

Devices that are inserted during surgery, such as pacemakers or ICDs, are designed to help regulate the heartbeat when irregularities occur. Ablations are a type of surgery used to destroy a small portion of the heart's tissue where an arrhythmia is resulting from.

Types of heart arrhythmias

There are several types of heart arrhythmias. Each type is classified by the effect it is having on the heart (i.e., beating too slow or too fast) or by location. Common types of heart arrhythmias include:

  • Tachycardia—This type indicates the heart is beating too fast.
  • Bradycardia—This type indicates the heart is beating too slow.
  • Supraventricular arrhythmias—This type begins in one of the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria.
  • Ventricular arrhythmias—This type begins in one of the lower chambers of the heart, called the ventricles.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib)

AFib is a type of heart arrhythmia characterized by a chaotic, irregular heart rhythm that begins in the upper chambers of the heart, also known as the atria. The atria are contracting so fast and irregularly that the heart has a hard time beating effectively. AFib is known to be a major contributor to congestive heart failure (CHF), cerebrovascular accident (stroke) and other types of arrhythmias affecting the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart).

AFib is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia. Without treatment, AFib is a progressive disease, meaning it will increase in frequency and severity as a patient ages. Luckily, treatment options are available, including drug therapy, interventional procedures or surgery.

Symptoms of AFib

Knowing the symptoms of AFib and can help you know when to seek treatment. Common symptoms associated with AFib include:

  • Heart palpitations/sensations of fluttering
  • Sensation of a missed or extra heartbeat
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

Risk factors for developing AFib

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to someone developing AFib. Some can be controlled by lifestyle changes and others cannot. Risk factors include:

  • Advancing age
  • Congenital heart disorders
  • Diabetes diagnosis
  • Existing coronary artery disease
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Previous heart attack
  • Smoking
  • Stress