Sooner or later, you or someone you know will probably suffer from a heart rhythm abnormality. Any abnormal heart rate or change from your normal heart rhythm pattern is referred to as an arrhythmia, a problem in the electrical system in the heart. Arrhythmias range in severity from a few early or extra beats that aren’t even noticeable, to bothersome palpitations and even life shortening rhythms. Sudden cardiac death and chronic disability are some of the most frequent consequences of abnormal heart rhythms. Arrhythmia is common; for example, approximately 5 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation (one of the more common arrhythmias) and this could rise to 12 million diagnosed with this condition by the year 2030.
As you may expect, typical cardiovascular risk factors (such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol use, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea) may lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Genetics, drug abuse and certain medications can also lead to arrhythmia. Symptoms of arrhythmia often include palpitations, lightheadedness, chest pain, shortness of breath, as well as changes in heart beat patterns. Dangerous rhythms are often accompanied by passing out or lightheadedness. Treatment often includes medication and lifestyle changes, and catheter ablation if needed or if permanent elimination of the rhythm is desired.
A cardiac electrophysiologist, or a heart rhythm specialist, is a cardiologist with additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Pocatello Cardiology and the Portneuf Heart and Vascular Center are committed to bringing the latest technology to diagnose and treat heart rhythm disorders and ensure our patients have the very best care available. We are pleased to share that Portneuf Medical Center and Pocatello Cardiology are offering cardiac electrophysiology lab and consultation services for the first time in the area. As your electrophysiologist, I will work together with your primary care physician, cardiologist and other medical colleagues to provide the best possible treatment options, invasive and noninvasive, for all types of arrhythmias.
If you have any persistent heart symptoms, consult with your primary care provider or a heart specialist. Call 911 with sudden onset or progressively worse chest pain, severe shortness of breath, a sensation of pounding, irregularity or “fluttering” followed by passing out or nearly passing out.
If you are concerned about your risk for developing heart disease, experience abnormal heart rhythm or rate patterns, have a family history of heart disease or if you have experienced symptoms in the past, talk to your primary care physician or a cardiologist. There is a broad range of diagnostic and treatment options available that can change the course of heart disease and significantly enhance your quality of life. If you would like to see a cardiologist or electophysiologist at Portneuf Medical Center, call 208-234-2001 to schedule a consultation.