Arrhythmia Surgery Devices
A heart arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too quickly or with an irregular rhythm. An arrhythmia is classified according to the area of the heart from which it originates and how it affects the heart rate:
- Bradycardia. This type is a slow heartbeat with a resting rate of fewer than 60 beats a minute.
- Tachycardia. This type is a fast heartbeat with a resting rate greater than 100 beats per minute.
The heart has four chambers. The upper two chambers are called atria and receive blood into the heart. The lower two are called ventricles and pump blood from the heart. Arrhythmia can start in either location.
The Orlando Health Heart & Vascular Institute electrophysiologists stay at the forefront of technology and surgical techniques to ensure you receive the best treatments possible for arrhythmia with the quickest possible recovery.
Pacemaker and ICD Implantation
Arrhythmia is often treated with a small device that is surgically implanted into the chest to monitor, regulate and record the heart rate.
Devices that may be used include:
- Pacemaker. Helps regulate heart rhythms by sending electrical pulses that prompt the heart to beat normally. Can also monitor and record the heart rate to provide helpful information for the treating physician.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). Constantly monitors heart rhythms and delivers an electrical shock if it senses an abnormal heartbeat.
- Biventricular pacemaker. Used in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) to regulate the heartbeat of patients with severe heart failure by making both sides of the heart beat in sync.
Laser Lead Extraction
A pacemaker or ICD uses special wires called leads to deliver electrical pulses to the heart. Over time, a physician may determine that one or more of the leads needs to be removed and replaced in a procedure called laser lead extraction.
Reasons for laser lead extraction and replacement include:
- Damage to the existing lead or leads
- Interrupted blood flow
- Scar tissue buildup
The procedure uses laser light to free the lead from any scar tissue that’s built up around the implant site. A specialized laser sheath is inserted into the heart through an incision made in either the chest or groin. A laser light breaks up any fibrous tissue so it can be removed by the electrophysiologist using the special sheath.
Left Ventricular Epicardial Lead Upgrade
For a patient with heart failure, CRT can offer an improved quality of life by regulating their heart rate and making both sides of the heart beat at the same time. A pacemaker with three leads is placed in the heart to detect irregularities and correct them as they occur.
For the procedure to be most effective, the left ventricular lead must be placed precisely. Minimally invasive surgical techniques offer a safe alternative to open chest surgery that provides better visibility for the electrophysiologist, shorter operation times and faster recovery.