The treatment of electrical problems of the heart has progressed dramatically. Knowledge,
skill and advanced technology allow physicians at the UF Health
Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville to offer the most comprehensive
program of treatment for electrical disturbances of the heart. The Cardiac Electrophysiology
Program at UF Health Jacksonville is led by University of Florida cardiologists,
as well as a team of skilled nurses trained and specialized in the care of patients
with cardiac electrical problems.
As a complement to the clinical skill provided, the program at UF Health Jacksonville
offers the newest interventional technology available in the field of electrophysiology.
The program encompasses our inpatient diagnostic and interventional services as
well as the outpatient clinical services of doctor visits for electrophysiological
management and device follow up.
The Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab at UF Health Jacksonville offers comprehensive
diagnostic testing for the evaluation of dizziness, palpitations, loss of consciousness
resulting from insufficient blood flow to the brain, slow heart rate, fast heart
rate, abnormal or irregular heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation
and heart failure treatment. Upon completion of diagnostic evaluation, the lab is
also able to perform the necessary intervention immediately. Elective intervention
is also available on an outpatient basis for your convenience.
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Diagnostic procedures may include:
An electrophysiology study is a test of the electrical conduction system of your
heart. The study is done by threading catheters into a vein were the leg connects
to the abdomen to measure the electrical signals generated by your heart. The reason
for conducting the study may be to determine:
- If you need a pacemaker
- Why you're fainting
- If you're prone to a fast heart rhythm and guide the appropriate treatment for the
abnormal heart rhythm
- Whether past treatment for a fast heart rhythm has been successful
Like holter monitoring, cardiac event monitoring is used to diagnose symptoms that
are infrequent or sporadic; however, the monitor is worn for a longer period of
time, about 30 days, to monitor heart rhythm and to record symptoms.
Holter monitoring is a continuous recording of a patient's heart rhythm, usually
for 24 hours, during typical daily activities. It is especially useful in diagnosing
abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmia. For this test, small conducting patches
called electrodes are placed on your chest and attached to a small digital recording
monitor that you can carry in a pocket or in a small pouch worn around your neck.
Most current holter monitors and recorders are equipped with an event recorder or
marker. When symptoms such as dizziness or palpitations occur, you simply press
a button to note the time of the symptoms. This marks the tape so that the symptoms
and electrocardiogram ECG recording can be correlated during analysis.
Tilt Table Study
The tilt table test is used to determine the cause of your fainting spells. During
a tilt table study, you'll be connected to an EKG, oxygen monitor and blood pressure
monitor and then strapped to a bed that's tilted in different directions. Your blood
pressure and pulse are measured and symptoms are recorded while in various positions.
The test is designed to cause a fainting spell in a controlled environment and shows
how your heart rate and blood respond to changing positions.
Physicians at UF Health Jacksonville strive to assist in the clinical outcomes of
patients by developing a comprehensive plan of care, helping return the patient
to a thriving, healthy way of life. Treatment of arrhythmia may include medication,
interventional procedures or surgical procedures.
Automatic Implantable Cardio-Defibrillator Insertion
The automatic implantable cardio-defibrillator (AICD) is a small, lightweight electronic
device that is placed inside the body, constantly monitoring heart rhythm. If it
detects a fast, abnormal rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle. While the
device is not a cure for a heart rhythm problem, it can save a life by quickly bringing
a dangerously fast heart rhythm under control.
Cardioversion is the conversion of one cardiac rhythm or electrical pattern to another,
almost always from an abnormal to a normal one. This conversion can be accomplished
by using medications or by electrical cardioversion using a defibrillator, which
delivers a low-energy shock at the same time as the heartbeat, to restore a normal
Laser Lead Extraction
Laser lead extraction is a method of removing worn or infected pacemaker and defibrillator
wires from patients' hearts before implanting new ones. The lead, which passes through
a major vein in the heart and attaches to the pacemaker or defibrillator, grows
into the wall of the vein over time and becomes difficult to remove. Laser lead
extraction involves sliding a sheath over the lead containing a laser light that
removes the fibrous growth that holds the lead to the wall of the vein. The laser
has very low tissue penetration, so it only burns the fibrous tissue directly around
the lead, sparing injury to the surrounding vein. Once the lead is no longer attached
to the vein wall, it may be pulled out with less risk of damage to the vein.
Loop Recorder Implantation
An insertable loop recorder is used to determine the cause of fainting or near-fainting
spells. The recorder is a small device put inside the body to record heart rhythm
during fainting or near-fainting episodes. It is activated by a hand-held device
used during or after an event to store the event into the recorder's memory. The
device is removed after one or more episodes have been stored into memory.
Maze Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation
The maze procedure is offered for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, a
serious abnormality of the normal heart rhythm which affects a large population
of patients. Usually, a cardiothoracic surgeon will perform a modified maze procedure
in which radio frequency applicators are used to eliminate the abnormal heart rhythm.
While most maze procedures are performed in conjunction with heart valve surgery,
it is also possible to eliminate atrial fibrillation in patients having no heart
Physicians with UF Health Cardiothoracic Surgery
have received formal training in the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation and
have begun a successful program to address this important disease. This advanced
procedure serves as a key addition to non-surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation.
Permanent Pacemaker Insertion
A permanent pacemaker is used to correct disturbances to the normal rhythm of your
heart by analyzing the function of the heart's own electrical system and, when necessary,
sending tiny, precisely-timed electrical signals to the heart to correct certain
abnormalities in the heart's electrical system.
Pacemaker implantation is minimally invasive surgery often performed under local
anesthesia, and generally takes less than 45 minutes to perform. After the area
under the collarbone is numbed, a small incision is made and a "pocket" is fashioned
in the tissue overlying the muscle. The leads (made of flexible insulated electrical
wire) are inserted through a vein near the site of the pocket, and advanced into
the heart using x-rays for guidance. The leads are then attached to the generator
(about the size of a 50-cent piece and approximately three times as thick), the
generator is placed in the pocket and the incision is closed.
Once the incision completely heals, patients can generally return to a completely
normal life and many find they are able to do even more after a pacemaker is implanted.
Radio frequency ablation is a non-surgical treatment for people with an abnormal
heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, in which a long, flexible wire is passed into the heart
to eliminate the precise area of the heart causing the arrhythmia. An arrhythmia
can at times be controlled by medications, but if these are unsuccessful, or if
the side effects of the medication or taking the medication itself become troublesome,
radio frequency ablation may be recommended.
Resynchronization Therapy through Biventricular Pacemaker Insertion
A biventricular pacemaker is an artificial pacemaker or implantable cardio-defibrillator
designed to treat congestive heart failure. In many heart failure patients, the
walls of the left ventricle - the heart's main pumping chamber - are no longer synchronized,
or pumping together as they normally would. A biventricular pacemaker is designed
to resynchronize the pumping action of the left ventricle.
Device Follow-up and Management
Patients are offered the added benefit of having their pacemaker or defibrillator
evaluated, tested, and maintained in our comprehensive clinic. The device follow-up
clinic provides services to manage most brands of pacemakers and defibrillators.
Electrical management of these patients is provided to effect the greatest quality
of life possible for each patient. This is done by providing the most complete evaluation
of the patients needs electrically and matching that with the most technologically
advanced care of the patient needing pacing and/or defibrillation therapy and/or
5th Floor, Ambulatory Care Center
655 West 8th Street
Jacksonville, FL 32209
15255 Max Leggett Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32218
201 B Lakeshore Point
St. Marys, GA 31558