Pioneering Treatments for Heart Rhythm Disorders
Electrophysiology at BIDMC has long been recognized for its pioneering and innovative role in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders. The CVI's Harvard-Thorndike Electrophysiology Institute and Arrhythmia Service is the oldest, largest program of its kind in New England, providing specialized arrhythmia care for patients from around the region and around the world.
What is an Arrhythmia?
The Cardiovascular Institute's expert electrophysiologists treat patients with all types of conditions that cause abnormal heartbeats, from atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia to ventricular tachycardia.
Treatment for an irregular heartbeat may include medication, a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator, ablation, or other procedures.
Atrial Fibrillation Clinic
The CardioVascular Institute's Atrial Fibrillation Clinic is dedicated to clinical management of atrial fibrillation patients as well as atrial fibrillation research. Our services include:
- Consultations for atrial fibrillation ablation and anti-arrhythmic drugs
- Cardioversion, a medical procedure that restores a normal heart rhythm
- Initiation and follow-up of anti-arrhythmic medical therapy
- Counseling for anticoagulation therapy
- Clinical trials of new therapies for atrial fibrillation
Cardiac Monitoring Lab
The CardioVascular Institute's Cardiac Monitoring Lab (formerly known as Holter Lab) performs a type of ECG study for patients with suspected heart rhythm abnormalities. We work closely with the electrophysiology service in identifying patients at risk for serious arrhythmias. We also provide arrhythmia surveillance for patients after ablation and cardioversion procedures and waveform interval measurements for patients following valve replacements and those on trials of anti-arrhythmic drugs.
The lab's state-of-the-art technology includes Long Term ECG Monitors and Cardiac Event Monitors. Long Term ECG Monitors collect 3-14 days of data and serve to provide rate, rhythm, arrhythmia burden and symptom correlation. Event Monitors, ordered for 1-4 week enrollments, are both patient-activated or when serious arrhythmias are detected by the device. These monitors automatically transmit tracings in real-time so physicians can act upon significant findings without delay. ECG data is reviewed by board-certified cardiac electrophysiologists.
The CardioVascular Institute's Electrophysiology Lab offers the most advanced diagnosis and treatment methods, including non-surgical procedures, to control or cure a variety of arrhythmias, including:
Our lab provides 24-hour monitoring for arrhythmia diagnosis and management. Most patients experience excellent outcomes through a range of advanced treatment options. Our patients often benefit from education and support groups as well. Services include:
- Outpatient arrhythmia management for patients with even the most complex arrhythmias
- Syncope (fainting) clinic with a special focus on treating unexplained syncope
- Intensive electrophysiologic (EP) evaluation to diagnose both clinical tachyarrhythmias (rapid heartbeats) and bradyarrhythmias (slow heartbeats) and test the effectiveness of medications
- Catheter ablation, a non-surgical procedure in which physicians deliver radiofrequency energy to abnormal areas of the heart to control or cure a variety of abnormal heartbeats
- Defibrillator and permanent pacemaker implantation
- Transvenous lead extraction, using techniques that include laser sheaths, to remove scarred-over pacemaker and defibrillator wires from the heart
- Biventricular pacing, a type of pacemaker that keeps the two lower heart chambers pumping blood in sync (for patients with advanced heart failure)
Pacemaker and Defibrillator Clinic
The CardioVascular Institute's outpatient Pacemaker and Defibrillator Clinic provides care for patients with implanted cardiac devices. Routine and urgent outpatient clinic appointments are available daily.
Implantable cardiac arrhythmia devices are used to treat slow heartbeats (bradyarrhythmias) or rapid heartbeats (ventricular tachyarrhythmias). Many patients also utilize the clinic's home monitoring program that permits automated device checks via the phone or internet between normally scheduled visits.
We also offer outpatient and inpatient consultation services for patients considering cardiac device placement, and for patients who require additional device management after placement.
Read about one patient's experience here.
To inquire about evaluation or treatment:
Call 617-667-8800 Email Us