Heart arrhythmia treatment in St. Petersburg, Florida

At Northside Hospital's AFib & Heart Rhythm Center, cardiologists diagnose and treat patients with irregular heartbeats, also called heart arrhythmias. The heart should beat in a regular, steady pattern. Arrhythmias cause hearts to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.

To schedule an appointment with one of our heart arrhythmia specialists, call us at (888) 598-9586.

Heart arrhythmia defined

The body naturally produces electricity that travels over the heart muscle and stimulates the heart to contract or beat. Certain conditions can cause the electrical system to make the heart beat irregularly. These irregular patterns can occur in any of the four chambers of the heart.

We treat the following forms of heart arrhythmia:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Beats coming from abnormal areas of the heart
  • Extra beats
  • Heartbeats that are too fast (tachycardia)
  • Heartbeats that are too slow (bradycardia)
  • Skipped beats

Once a patient is diagnosed with an arrhythmia, we work with the patient's referring physician to plan the most effective course of treatment.

Arrhythmia symptoms

Some arrhythmias may occur without any symptoms. Others, such as AFib, may cause noticeable symptoms, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, sensation of lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Sensation of a missed or extra heartbeat
  • Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

Electrophysiology

An electrophysiology study (EPS) is a diagnostic procedure that allows doctors to look more closely at the electrical function of the heart. An EPS is the most accurate and reliable method of diagnosing an abnormal heart rhythm and helps physicians determine the most appropriate treatment option.

Our Electrophysiology (EP) Lab provides the latest diagnostic technology, including a 56-video monitoring system and four private recovery rooms.

The electrophysiologists provide patients with advanced cardiac care in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Heart arrhythmia treatment

In addition to our EP studies for the detection of arrhythmias, we offer treatment options. These minimally invasive procedures help reduce the effects of various heart rhythm disorders, including:

  • Cardiac ablation therapy
  • Cardiac cryoablation
  • Left atrial appendage occlusion
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation and repair

Ablation therapy

Ablation therapy is a technique designed to treat arrhythmias, which potentially eliminates the need for medication. After the area of the heart causing the arrhythmia is located, the physician applies either radiofrequency energy or cold therapy. Then, the physician uses a catheter to administer the treatment, which destroys (ablates) the arrhythmic tissue.

Advanced cardiac cryoablation

Northside Hospital is the first medical facility in Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee counties to offer advanced cardiac cryoablation catheter treatment. This new treatment provides hope to patients with certain types of AFib for whom drug therapy or device implantation has not been successful.

This catheter's balloon-like shape allows the physician to create a continuous line of scar tissue around the pulmonary vein with just a few applications. With other "point-to-point" catheter systems, repeated applications are needed to create many small lesions in an attempt to form a continuous line of scar tissue. For this reason, cardiac cryoablation has a low risk of complications and is considered safe and effective.

Left atrial appendage occlusion

Northside Hospital is the first hospital on the west coast of Florida and the fourth hospital in the state to offer left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO). This procedure is for patients with non-valvular AFib who are currently on blood thinners. According to the Heart Rhythm Alliance, LAAO can reduce the risk of an AFib-related stroke by up to 70 percent.

People with AFib are at high risk of stroke or systemic embolism. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib is with a blood thinner. We offer LAAO to patients on blood thinners. LAAO closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage. This prevents blood clots from leaving the left atrial appendage, entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke.