Memorial Healthwatch Winter/Spring 2009
Breakthroughs in Electrophysiology are Revolutionizing the Testing, Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Rhythm Abnormalities
Eight weeks after giving birth, Danielle felt heart palpitations so frightening she went to the Emergency Department at Memorial Hospital Pembroke. By the time she arrived, her heart was hammering at 270 beats per minute and her vision was beginning to black out.
The Emergency Department physicians recognized that Danielle, 29, was having a life-threatening episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a type of arrhythmia caused by faulty electrical impulses in the heart's upper chambers.
After her condition was stabilized, she was told she could take a daily medication for life or could undergo catheter ablation to cure the condition permanently.
When Danielle learned that medication was incompatible with breastfeeding, she knew that catheter ablation was the right choice for her. The physician she chose for the procedure was Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute cardiologist Raul Mitrani, MD, FACC, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Enter the Cardiac Expert
An electrophysiologist (heart rhythm expert) with 15 years of experience performing catheter ablation, Dr. Mitrani had the expertise to gain Danielle's confidence. "I felt comfortable with him right away," she says. "He is professional and intelligent, and he spoke in terms I could understand."
In a sophisticated electrophysiology suite, Dr. Mitrani gave Danielle a dose of adrenaline to induce an SVT attack. He then guided a catheter into her heart and used radio waves to destroy areas of tissue generating the abnormal electrical impulses.
Light anesthesia was all it took to keep Danielle relaxed and pain-free.
Afterwards, Dr. Mitrani tested her heart with another dose of adrenaline. When it failed to make her heart pound, he knew the procedure had been successful.
"I feel like a new person now," says Danielle.
A Wide Scope of Treatment Options
Memorial electrophysiologists use a wide range of sophisticated devices and procedures to diagnose and treat different types of heart rhythm abnormalities. Two different mapping systems and the use of sound waves to see inside the heart enable them to pinpoint the source of the disturbance in most patients.
Many options are available to control or cure rhythm disturbances, including radiofrequency ablation, cardiac resynchonization therapy (CRT), implanted pacemakers and pacemaker/defibrillators.
"We utilize cutting-edge techniques and procedures safely and effectively. Our goal is to save lives and improve quality of life for our patients," says Dr. Mitrani.
To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.