The Harvard-Thorndike Electrophysiology Institute and Arrhythmia Service at BIDMC is the oldest and largest program of its kind in the region. Staff members were among the pioneers of modern cardiac electrophysiology, and continue cutting-edge research. Attracting patients nationally and worldwide, with about 7,000 visits annually in the arrhythmia and pacemaker/device clinics, the service offers advanced diagnosis and treatment modalities, including catheter-based ablation to control or cure a variety of arrhythmias with standard and investigational mapping systems.

The ambulatory electrocardiography laboratory provides 24-hour surveillance for arrhythmia diagnosis and management. In addition to implantation of standard and investigational pacemakers and defibrillators, pacemaker and ICD lead explantation are performed. Patients benefit from education and support groups. The Clinical Electrophysiology service conducts daily teaching conferences and participates actively in the general clinical cardiology conference program. There are eight full-time and one part-time faculty in the electrophysiology section.

The electrophysiology service is involved in multiple research studies, the majority of which are initiated by investigators at BIDMC. Currently active areas of investigation include:

  • Noninvasive high resolution ECG analyses to detect persons at risk for ventricular tachyarrhythmias
  • Studies of investigational mapping systems
  • Investigation of both noninvasive and invasive methods to identify persons likely to benefit from ICD therapy
  • Evaluation of mechanisms of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias

Clinical research is supplemented by an active preclinical (animal) research program that includes state-of-the-art mapping and imaging systems.

General cardiology fellows spend a minimum of two months rotating through the service. The goals are for fellows to learn an approach to managing patients with arrhythmias and to understand the role of the clinical EP lab and implanted cardiac electrical devices (pacemakers and defibrillators). General cardiology fellows perform in-house consults on patients with arrhythmias. They are responsible for managing a busy cardioversion service. They learn to interrogate and program permanent pacemakers, loop recorders and defibrillators. There are also opportunities for fellows participate in the clinical electrophysiology lab, if desired.

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