Types of cardiac procedures
Premier Cardiology Consultants offers the following cardiac procedures:
Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias
(including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia)
Cardiac ablation is a procedure performed to cure an arrhythmia or an abnormal heart rhythm. The cardiac ablation procedure uses small wires called catheters, which are placed inside the heart through the groin to measure your heart’s electrical activity. Cardiac ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through the heart, which can cure an arrhythmia. These catheters use heat or cold to get rid of abnormal tissue in your heart that is triggering your abnormal heart rhythm. Cardiac ablation is often used to treat certain heart rhythm problems that have not responded to medication.
AV Node Ablation
AV node ablation is another treatment option for atrial fibrillation. Patients with atrial fibrillation that does not respond to medication or other procedures can undergo AV node ablation. Our staff will insert catheters and use electrodes to apply heat and destroy the electrical connection between the upper and lower heart chambers. After the procedure, a pacemaker is placed to maintain the adjusted heart rhythm. AV node ablation has a very high success rate and can successfully alleviate symptoms.
Balloon Angioplasty or Stent placement
Balloon angioplasty and stent placement is a minimally invasive procedure performed to open blocked arteries and improve blood flow. Interventional cardiologists commonly perform these procedures to the arteries of the heart for chest pain or shortness of breath or the arteries of the legs for pain or numbness. When a blockage is found it can be opened by carefully inflating a small balloon inside the blockage. Next, a stent can be placed in the area of the fixed blockage in order to minimize the chance of the blockage happening again. After angioplasty and stent placement, the patient will need to lie still for several hours to prevent bleeding. Aspirin plus another medication will likely be used after the procedure to help keep the stent open.
Cardiac Catheterization (Angiograms)
A coronary angiogram, also called cardiac catheterization, is an X-ray image of the inside of the heart’s arteries using a contrast dye. The imaging is performed to detect the approximate location of an aneurysm or a blockage that may be causing your chest pain or shortness of breath. A thin tube called a catheter is inserted through an IV into an artery in either the wrist or leg, and then carefully positioned near the heart. The contrast dye is injected and X-rays pictures are taken. If there is a blocked or damaged artery, treatment for the condition can be done at the same time with an angioplasty or stent.
Direct Current Cardioversion
Direct current cardioversion is a medical procedure used to convert an irregular heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, back to your heart’s normal rhythm. Cardioversion helps restore a normal heartbeat through a noninvasive procedure. You are first made comfortable using a small amount of sedation, and then an external defibrillator is used to pass a synchronized amount of energy through two pads across your chest. This carefully planned and delivered energy immediately stops your irregular heart rhythm. Most people can go home after the sedative wears off but need to take blood thinners and antiarrhythmic drugs to help maintain normal rhythm. If the medications don’t work then Dr. Ahuja can discuss an ablation to help maintain a normal rhythm.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that is implanted under the skin, and can detect and treat abnormal rhythms called ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. An ICD uses electrical impulses to control dangerous arrhythmias that may lead to fainting or sudden cardiac arrest. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the ICD will deliver an internal electric shock to the heart, restoring the normal heart rhythm, therefore preventing sudden death. In addition to regular ICDs, Dr. Ahuja also implants the subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD by Boston Scientific).
An electrophysiology study examines the heart’s electrical activity to diagnose, evaluate and treat arrhythmia, which can be a sign of various heart problems. Performed by Dr. Ahuja in an electrophysiology lab, an electrophysiology study involves running approximately 3 to 4 electrode-tipped catheters through veins or arteries to a patient’s heart. Small electrical signals are sent via the catheters to the heart to make it beat faster or slower. The catheters pick up the electrical signals produced by the heart and record them so they can be evaluated.
Peripheral laser atherectomy uses a catheter that emits high energy light to unblock an artery. The catheter is maneuvered through the artery until it reaches the blockage. Laser energy is used to essentially vaporize the blockage inside the vessel. This results in increased blood flow to the leg.
An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a small device that continuously monitors heart rhythms and records them both automatically and/or by using a hand-held patient assistant. An ILR is designed to help the physicians at Premier Cardiology Consultants quickly diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms that may be related to unexplained fainting, dizziness, palpitations, or strokes.
A pacemaker is a device that is implanted under the skin to help control an individual’s heartbeat. This device is often used in people who have an abnormally slow heartbeat. A pacemaker sends signals to the heart that help it to beat at the correct and healthy rate. A pacemaker helps to track the heartbeat and maintain an adequate heartbeat frequency to allow oxygen and nutrients to flow through the body. When indicated, a pacemaker will help prevent fainting or improve your exercise tolerance. In addition to regular pacemakers, Dr. Ahuja is certified to also implant the new leadless pacemaker (Micra by Medtronic).
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Supraventricular Tachycardia is an abnormally fast heart rhythm. The increased heart rhythm results from abnormal electrical fibers in the heart. While not typically life-threatening, symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, and fainting can be jarring. There are 3 common types of SVT and the physicians at Premier Cardiology Consultants can treat them with medication or radio-frequency catheter ablation.
WATCHMAN is a permanent implant that reduces the risk of stroke, specifically in patients with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. At Premier Cardiology Consultants, we use minimally invasive techniques to place the WATCHMAN implant on the heart. Recovery in the hospital is short but patients must return after about 45 days and in additional increments moving forward. Our team will then take photos of the implant to make sure that the implant has closed the left atrial appendage opening using a TEE test.