Advanced heart arrhythmia treatment in Southeast Georgia

A heart arrhythmia is defined as an abnormal heart rhythm. It may beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. Sometimes heart arrhythmias are benign and cause no outward symptoms. However, in some cases they pose a threat to your cardiac health and require treatment. At the Heart & Vascular Institute, we provide advanced cardiac solutions for heart rhythm conditions.

If you are experiencing heart rhythm issues, call our Consult-A-Nurse® line at (800) 352-6762.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib)

AFib is the most commonly diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. If left untreated it can severely impact your quality of life and lead to complications, such as blood clots, heart failure or stroke.

AFib symptoms

Some people never experience AFib symptoms while others' symptoms may be severe. Symptoms can include:

  • Discomfort, pain or pressure in the chest
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fluttering or pounding feeling in the chest
  • Inability to exercise
  • Lightheaded or dizzy feeling
  • Shortness of breath or breathlessness
  • Weakness and fatigue

Treatment for heart arrhythmias

Our cardiac specialists provide diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of arrhythmias. We will determine the best type of heart care based on the type of arrhythmia you are experiencing. Treatments offered at our hospital include cardiac electrophysiology, surgery and blood thinners.

Cardiac electrophysiology

Our electrophysiology (EP) lab in the Heart & Vascular Institute at Memorial Health offers a wide range of procedures to treat heart arrhythmias, including cardiac ablations and implantable device options.

Cardiac ablations

Cardiac ablations are able to correct heart rhythm problems by destroying scar tissue in the heart that is allowing the wrong electrical impulses to cause a heart arrhythmia.

Implantable devices

Implantable devices provide electrical stimulation to the distinct areas of the heart that are causing an arrhythmia. These devices allow patients' hearts to maintain a normal heart rate.

There are three types of implantable devices:

  • Biventricular pacemaker
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Pacemaker

Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC)

Left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion is a treatment used to reduce the stroke risk in patients with a heart arrhythmia who are at a high-risk for bleeding and cannot take blood thinners. During the procedure, the left atrial appendage is closed to prevent blood from pooling and forming clots.

The LAAC implant closes off an area of the heart to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the left atrial appendage, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners, such as warfarin.

Implanting the LAAC device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

Blood clot medication management

To help with blood pressure and heart rhythm issues, your doctor may also prescribe a combination of medications, such as:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to widen blood vessels
  • Beta-blockers to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • Digoxin (also called digitalis) to help your heart pump
  • Diuretics to remove excess fluid in your body

You may also be given medications to help:

  • Control high blood pressure
  • Manage chest pain
  • Manage cholesterol levels