Heart Rhythm Management
Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP)
Cardiac electrophysiology deals with the assessment and treatment of heart rhythm problems. Disorders of the heart rhythm can cause:
- Chest Pains
- Rarely, but tragically, Sudden Death
A significant number of affected patients are young and heart rhythm problems can have a major impact on them and their families.
We are one of the busiest pacemaker implanting hospitals and ablation centres in Europe.
We are the first centre in the country to provide our Biventricular Pacemaker patients with cardiac rehabilitation, as a result of which patient benefits were almost doubled. Currently we are one of only a handful of hospitals worldwide evaluating leadless defibrillators. We provide a supra-regional service for the extraction of pacemakers and the implantation of epicardial pacing leads.
Pacemakers are implanted to prevent slow heart rates known as bradycardias. More complex pacemakers are available to treat patients with heart failure who remain symptomatic despite full medical therapy. For those patients thought to be at risk of sudden cardiac death we implant cardiac defibrillators which can return a life-threatening heart rhythm to normal. A full range of diagnostic facilities are available to ensure appropriate individualised prescription of ablation or devices. Follow up clinics run daily and we are presently testing new technology which allows home monitoring of some defibrillator patients.
The Trust is also at the forefront of pacemaker and defibrillator research. We have piloted several new technologies in the past decade and strive to provide our patients with equipment and service of the highest quality.
Ablation procedures are usually carried out as day-case procedures
They are relatively painless and take approximately two hours. Using local anaesthetic, fine recording electrodes are passed into the heart from a vein at the top of the leg. The electrical activity of the heart is recorded and the source of the heart rhythm problem identified. A special catheter is then used to gently heat up the inside wall of the heart at that site. Using this technique, up to 90% of patients can be cured of their heart rhythm problem.
Many cardiac conditions which cause heart rhythm problems can now be diagnosed and treated with a procedure called Catheter Ablation. We are able to offer a cure to many patients who previously had to take long-term drug therapy, which often caused side effects.