If you have symptoms of arrhythmia, it’s important to make an appointment with a cardiologist. You may also want to see an electrophysiologist – a cardiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.
At Hoag, our multidisciplinary team of cardiac experts specializes in arrhythmia management with the latest technologies available to accurately diagnose and treat all types of arrhythmia. The first of its kind in Orange County, the new Allan & Sandy Fainbarg Electrophysiology Cath Lab Suite enables physicians and clinicians to use ground-breaking technology within a comfortable patient-centered environment to diagnose the full spectrum of arrhythmia and other cardiac problems.
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Some tests that may be done to confirm the presence of an irregular heart rhythm, or other underlying heart condition, include:
In an EKG, doctors place sensor patches (electrodes) on your skin to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An EKG measures the timing and rhythm of each electrical phase in your heartbeat.
Electrophysiology (EP) Study
An electrophysiology study (EPS) is an invasive test that uses catheters to precisely map the spread of electrical impulses throughout the heart, enabling physicians to locate the specific areas of heart tissue that give rise to the abnormal electrical impulses that cause arrhythmias. During the test, the arrhythmia can be safely reproduced and terminated. In many cases, the study is an electrical test drive to see if the heart has the tendency to go into potentially dangerous rhythms that require treatment.
This test uses high-frequency sound waves, called ultrasound, to create detailed images of your heart’s size, structure, and motion to determine if there is heart muscle or valve disease that may be causing an arrhythmia. There are several types of echocardiography that may be utilized to confirm arrhythmia and determine the best course of treatment.
In addition to the standard electrocardiography, your doctor may recommend other specialized tests, including ambulatory EKG monitoring such as an event recorder. This is a portable device that individuals can activate when they experience symptoms. The information is then used to help physicians diagnose arrhythmia.
A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that records your heart rhythm over a one to three-day period. During that time, the device continually records your heartbeat. A Holter monitor test is usually performed after a traditional test to check your heart rhythm (such as EKG) doesn’t provide conclusive information regarding the heart’s condition.
A stress test is often utilized to record arrhythmias that start or are worsened with exercise. This test can also help in determining if there is underlying heart disease or coronary artery disease associated with an arrhythmia. During the test, the heart is monitored by an EKG (or other tests) as the patient exercises on a treadmill or stationary bicycle.
Tilt Table Testing
This test is often used when an individual is experiencing recurrent fainting spells. It evaluates how heart rate and blood pressure respond to changes in position from lying down to standing up.