What to know about variable heart rhythms and AFib
An Ohio State cardiac electrophysiologist shares what to know about heart rhythms and AFib.
Ventricular arrhythmias are abnormal rapid heart rhythms that start in the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). Ventricular arrhythmias include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Both are life-threatening arrhythmias most commonly associated with heart attacks or scarring of the heart muscle from a previous heart attack.
Ventricular arrhythmias may be caused by:
The electrophysiology team at Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital consists of the largest group of electrophysiologists in central Ohio as well as over 100 nursing staff members dedicated to the care of patients with heart rhythm problems. Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital has consistently been one of the largest electrophysiology centers in the country utilizing physician experience coupled with advanced mapping and ablation technology to manage the wide spectrum of heart rhythm problems. Ohio State’s electrophysiology program is the largest program in Ohio, and one of the top three in the nation, with extensive experience in managing a wide spectrum of heart rhythm problems.
The first step in the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation is a medical history and physical examination by your electrical heart doctor (called an electrophysiologist). Many times, the first diagnose of a ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation is when a patient requires emergency assistance from 911. An electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) obtained at the time of the heart rhythm problem will confirm the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Based on your symptoms, your electrophysiologist may also recommend other tests such as:
Holter monitor – A portable, battery-operated EKG/ECG that is worn for a day or two and provides your physician with continuous data about the electrical activity of your heart.
Exercise stress test – A test performed on a treadmill or stationary bicycle to measure heart, lung and muscle function during physical activity. You are attached to an electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) to record electrical activity of the heart.
Electrophysiology (EP) study – An invasive test where the doctor inserts pacing wires through a blood vessel into the heart to evaluate the electrical system of the heart.
Echocardiogram (also called echo) – This test uses sound waves to assess the function and structure of the heart muscle and valves.
Emergency treatments for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation include:
Long-term therapy for managing ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation will be designed by your electrophysiologist and may include one or more of the following:
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