Device Implants - CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

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Device Implants

It’s not just love that makes your heart skip a beat; it can be a sign of a serious condition. Besides sometimes skipping a beat, the heart may beat too slowly or beat a few too many times. In these cases, the Electrophysiology Department at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital can help. We diagnose and treat heart rate or rhythm abnormalities, called arrhythmias. Some of the tools we use when assessing your condition include:

  • CHAD scoring - assesses stroke risk associated with arrhythmia
  • Echocardiogram - sound waves create a moving picture of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) - measures the electrical activity of the heart
  • Sleep apnea questionnaire

Electrophysiology

At the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, electrophysiology mapping is used to find the source of electrical problems within the heart. Electrophysiologists use advanced imaging and diagnostic catheter technology to create a 3-D "map" of electrical activity within the patient's heart. Once the source of an irregular heartbeat has been located it can be treated through ablation, ICD or medication.

Ablation

Ablation is a therapeutic procedure performed via surgery or minimally invasive catheterization that destroys targeted heart tissue to block or eliminate irregular heartbeats.

Implantable Devices

Some arrhythmias require an implanted device to keep the heart beating in a healthy rhythm. At the Louis & Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, the types of devices we implant include

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD)

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator or ICD, is an internal defibrillator the size of a small pager. An ICD delivers therapies to treat life-threatening heart rhythm disorders, such as VT (Ventricular Tachycardia) and VF (Ventricular Fibrillation). The ICD is implanted inside your body and works automatically. Physicians at the Louis & Peaches Owen Heart Hospital implant the devise in patients with abnormal heart rhythms in order to restore the rhythms necessary for healthy blood flow.

Your medical condition determines the type of ICD that you receive. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate model of ICD that will best treat your rhythm disorder. Each model varies somewhat in its size, features and capabilities.

Pacemaker

Your physician may recommend a pacemaker because there are signs that your heart is not beating fast enough or there is a problem with the normal electrical signal that causes your heart to beat. A permanent pacemaker is an implanted electronic device used to stabilize or stimulate the heart's rhythm. It consists of a generator and leads which are usually implanted into the upper chest through a small incision. The generator is a metal case containing the power source and a timer that regulates how often the pacemaker sends out electrical signals. The generator life is usually seven to ten years. The leads allow the pacemaker to monitor your heart rhythm and to send out electrical signals to make your heart beat when needed.

Biventricular (BIV) Pacemaker

A biventricular (BIV) pacemaker is a specialized device implanted in a patient to re-coordinate the beating of the right and left ventricles of the heart. The purpose is to get the heart to beat in sync. Why? Because when this function is impaired and one chamber of the heart contracts slightly before the other, the amount of blood and oxygen being sent throughout the body is decreased. In people with already weakened or damaged hearts, this inability to efficiently pump blood through the body further weakens the patient’s stamina, healing abilities and overall well-being. Also known as cardiac resynchronization therapy, the BIV pacemaker increases the survival rate of patients with heart disease.

Device implantation is often an outpatient procedure, although you may need to spend a night or two with us.

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