Florida Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best hospitals. At our Arrhythmia and Ablation Center, we pride ourselves on offering patients access to some of the finest physicians in field, who along with our talented and dedicated support staff can treat all manner of atrial fibrillation and heart arrhythmia issues, from the most common to the most complex. In fact, our center frequently receives referrals from cardiac physicians all over the region whose patients have complex heart conditions that they are unable to treat.
The Arrhythmia and Ablation Center is actively involved in clinical trials and ongoing research into new treatments for atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias. The physicians at the center regularly publish articles in peer-reviewed journals about new discoveries in these areas.
Not only do we have experienced, expert doctors at the Arrhythmia and Ablation Center, but we also have cutting-edge technologies and techniques. For example, we are the only Florida facility outside of Miami to offer Stereotaxis robotic ablation therapy. This new technology allows doctors to use softer catheters to repair atrial fibrillations; these catheters are gentler on the heart, allowing more complex procedures at less risk to the patient.
Heart arrhythmia, a heartbeat irregularity that can make it feel like your heart is fluttering or skipping a beat, is a condition affecting more than 4 million Americans. This condition can take many forms, each with a different cause. The expert physicians at the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute are specially trained to diagnose and treat them all. Below, we take a quick look at some different types of heart arrhythmia, and some of the treatment options we make available to our patients.
Atrial fibrillation occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly or out of sync with the lower chambers, called the ventricles. This condition, which affects more than 2 million Americans, can cause the heart to beat irregularly or faster than normal.
Patients at the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute atrial fibrillation have a number of treatment options available. These include medications that slow the electrical impulses sent to the heart so the heart rate will return to its normal rate. When medical interventions don’t work, atrial ablation may be used. In this procedure, the cells causing the fibrillation are destroyed. We use three types of ablation: radiofrequency ablation, in which a catheter is directed to the site causing the irregularity and a radiofrequency wave is transmitted to the region; robotic ablation, which allows the catheter to be positioned using computerized, magnetic navigation, thus offering a quicker and more successful surgery; and cryoablation, a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that isolates or destroys cells by cooling them to sub-zero temperatures.
About 80 to 85 percent of atrial fibrillation patients respond well to ablation therapy and see their atrial fibrillation episodes either completely eliminated or significantly reduced. In a few cases, your Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute physician may recommend a cox-maze surgery, in which incisions are made in the atria to create lesions that interrupt the electrical signals causing the heart to beat irregularly.
In many cases, the onset of an atrial flutter goes undiagnosed, especially among individuals with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy, who are most likely to experience this type of arrhythmia (though it can also affect people with a normal heart).
At the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, atrial flutter patients have a number of treatment options, including radiofrequency ablation of the cells causing the abnormal heart rhythm, or medicines such as anticoagulants, digoxin, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, blood thinners and cardioversion, a treatment in which a medication called ibutilide is administered intravenously to shock the heart.
Ischemic ventricular tachycardia
Ventricular tachycardia refers to a very rapid heartbeat (faster than 100 to 120 beats per minute). Ischemic ventricular tachycardia is a serious form of this condition that, left untreated, is almost always fatal.
The most common symptom for ischemic ventricular tachycardia patients is syncope, or a fainting spell. However, in other patients there may be no or only vague symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath. In still other cases, the first symptom may be sudden cardiac arrest.
Ischemic ventricular tachycardia is usually caused by a prior heart attack, which is in turn cause by blockage of the main coronary arteries. This heart attack leads to scar formation in the part of the heart supplied by the artery, and in time, the border between the healthy tissue and scar tissue allows electricity to go in an out of the scar, producing an incessantly rapid heartbeat.
In nearly every case, the skilled cardiac experts at the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute treat ischemic ventricular tachycardia with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This is a small, battery-powered device that can detect arrhythmia and correct it by delivering a jolt of electricity. For some patients, especially patients whose ischemic ventricular tachycardia recurs frequently, necessitating frequent shocks from the ICD, radiofrequency ablation may be helpful. In this procedure, which requires a specialized 3D mapping system, the goal is to create an electrical isolation the transitional zone between the healthy and scar tissue so that this scar tissue cannot produce the electricity that leads to the rapid heartbeat.
In this condition, the patient’s heart rate speeds up, sometimes to as high as 150 to 200 beats per minute, causing symptoms including palpitations, light-headedness and chest pains.
At the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute, our state-of-the-art treatment options include ablation (usually radiofrequency ablation) to eliminate the disease by blocking abnormal electrical impulses; and medicational management, in which adenosine or other medications (e.g., beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers or digoxin) are administered to stop the heart rate from speeding up.
Our arrhythmia and ablation team
The Arrhythmia and Ablation Center at the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute provides our cardiac patients access to one of the finest teams of physicians imaginable. These experts and their skilled, compassionate staff can treat both common and complex atrial fibrillation and heart arrhythmia issues, all in our compassionate, patient-centered environment.
Florida Hospital Orlando’s Arrhythmia and Ablation Center is led by Dr. George Monir and Dr. Scott Pollak, who together bring decades of experience to bear for their patients. Along with their fellow physicians—Dr. Sambit Mondal, Dr. Naushad Shaik and Dr. Usman Siddiqui—they provide patients not just the latest in advanced treatments and technology, but also the commitment and dedication to follow up with them after treatment.