HEALTH & BEAUTY – Closer to the Heart

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Cardiac Electrophysiology is the latest service being provided by Cardiologists at St. Anthony’s Hospital

Article from FOCUS Magazine – Spring 14 issue.

What you need to know about Cardiac Arrhythmia – a blanket term for several conditions which constitute heart rhythm disorder

A number of problems can arise from having an irregular heart beat, including dizziness, loss of consciousness and an increased risk of stroke. Previously, regular medication was considered the best treatment for heart rhythm problems. However, many of these medications have undesirable side effects, which can be difficult to cope with.

With advances in medical technology, alternative options are now available. Cardiac Electrophysiology is the latest service being provided by Cardiologists at St. Anthony’s Hospital, with the support of specialist physiologists and a Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory Team.

What is it?
Cardiac Electrophysiology involves the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). To reach the heart and measure its electrical activities, a catheter is inserted via the groin. The catheter transmits radio-frequency energy which is delivered to targeted parts of the heart. Dysfunctional areas of the muscle are either frozen or heated in order to stop and prevent the re-occurrence of heart arrhythmias. Treatment is minimally invasive, which reduces the likelihood of infection and means little to no long-term visible scar.

Why is it important?
Cardiac Electrophysiology is an important field of medicine simply due to the great benefits it can offer to large numbers of patients with many different types of cardiac arrhythmia. Before the introduction of such technologies, patients had to live with these conditions or take numerous medications to control the symptoms they were suffering from. Now with advances in modern medicine, more patients are getting treatments that can relieve their symptoms and allow them to lead a normal life again.

What are the benefits?
The advancing field of electrophysiology offers patients alternatives to daily medication or implantable devices. Some patients can effectively be relieved of their previously debilitating symptoms through a single procedure.

Electrophysiology holds the advantage over drug treatment for rhythm disorders as it can be seen as a cure rather than a short or long-term management of symptoms. The side effects and associated risks of long-term treatment with Warfarin are widely documented and such courses of treatment are therefore best avoided where possible.

Electrophysiology is now considered a first-line treatment for people with Cardiac Arrhythmias, which are being diagnosed with increasing frequency across the UK. However, centres where the service is available remain few and far between, so it may be reassuring to know that the service provided at St. Anthony’s is underpinned by a number of highly experienced consultants who specialise in the treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmia.

For any further information or to make an appointment to see a consultant cardiologist please visit www.stanthonys.org.uk or contact our outpatient department on: 0208 335 4578 / 9