Frank P. Tourville Sr. Arrhythmia Treatment Center

 

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If you have an irregular heartbeat (commonly known as an arrhythmia), your heart may feel as if it flutters, skips a beat or beats out of rhythm. Left untreated, some types of arrhythmia can lead to fainting and falls, strokes or sudden death. Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common of the many types of arrhythmia.

The Frank P. Tourville Sr. Arrhythmia Treatment Center at MUSC Health has South Carolina’s most experienced team of arrhythmia specialists. Our electrophysiologists (heart rhythm experts) are recognized nationally and internationally for their clinical expertise in treating AFib and other types of arrhythmia.

Why Choose MUSC Health for Arrhythmia Care?

As the only academic medical center in South Carolina, our doctors offer arrhythmia treatment options not available elsewhere in the state. Through comprehensive, personalized care, they find the cause of an irregular heartbeat and recommend treatments to resolve it. At the Arrhythmia Treatment Center, you will find:

  • Expert diagnosis: Our electrophysiology (EP) labs feature the latest equipment to test the electrical activity of your heart. Advanced heart mapping tools with flawless resolution let our team spot problems that previously went undetected.
  • Advanced treatments: Through clinical trials, our doctors help pioneer many new arrhythmia treatments. We played a key role in initial testing of the WATCHMAN™ device and have helped develop wireless implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) to regulate heart rhythms. Learn more about arrhythmia devices.
  • Convenient follow-up: You can choose to have follow-up visits in an MUSC Health outreach clinic closer to your home or workplace. Through our telehealth program, we can remotely monitor your heart condition and resolve issues before they become major problems. Read more about the MUSC Health Center for Telehealth.
  • Experts in inherited conditions: We offer the state’s only Cardiovascular Genetics Program. Led by a national leader in cardiac genetics, our program can help pinpoint the cause of a familial (inherited) arrhythmia. We’ll tell you what you and your loved ones need to know.

Arrhythmia Mapping: Leaders in South Carolina

Arrhythmia is a problem with the heart’s wiring — its electrical system. The doctors who treat arrhythmia are electrophysiologists, sometimes called the electricians of the heart. Meet our team.

MUSC Health is a pioneer in advanced heart mapping, which is like a GPS to direct our doctors to heart problems. Our EP doctors use the latest mapping systems to track the heart’s electrical function to identify and treat arrhythmia. MUSC Health has been a leader in developing and using new arrhythmia-mapping tools that:

  • Help electrophysiologists navigate hearts during complex ablation procedures.
  • Give doctors more insight into the mechanisms of heart rhythm problems.
  • Improve doctors’ ability to quickly pinpoint and treat areas of the heart that cause atrial flutter.

Ablation and Other Arrhythmia Treatment

Mild arrhythmia may be treatable with medications or a one-time procedure that shocks the heart into rhythm, called electrical cardioversion. For many people, the best solution to arrhythmia is heart ablation. This minimally invasive procedure eliminates electrical pathways that cause an irregular heartbeat.

Arrhythmia treatments at MUSC Health include:

Arrhythmia Devices

Our team offers advanced treatments for arrhythmia and AFib, including subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), which an MUSC Health doctor helped develop. See our arrhythmia devices.

Catheter Ablation

Our heart rhythm experts use ablation to correct simple or complex arrhythmias, including those that previous attempts have not successfully reduced. We perform catheter ablation in our dedicated EP labs, with special equipment to test your heart’s electrical activity.

In catheter ablation, doctors guide catheters (thin wires) through a blood vessel in your neck or groin to reach your heart. The catheter sends energy in the form of heat (radiofrequency ablation) or extreme cold (cryoablation) to destroy small areas of tissue that are causing irregular heart rhythms.

We offer two specialized forms of ablation:

  • Epicardial ablation: MUSC Health’s electrophysiologists are the only ones in South Carolina with the expertise to perform epicardial ablation. Epicardial ablation targets arrhythmia-inducing areas on the outside of your heart without the need for invasive open-heart surgery.
  • Ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation: MUSC Health offers the only VT ablation services in South Carolina. Because of our expertise, MUSC was chosen as one of only 12 sites nationwide to launch an advanced mapping system called EnSite Precision™, recently approved by the FDA. VT ablation can be used with implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs). Read about the first patient we treated with VT mapping.

Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion delivers an electrical shock to your heart. This minimally invasive procedure resets your heart to a normal rhythm by disrupting the impulses causing the arrhythmia.

About electrical cardioversion:

  • Electrical cardioversion can provide fast treatment for severe symptoms.
  • We can test the electrical activity of your heart in our specialized EP labs to determine whether cardioversion is right for you.
  • The cardioversion procedure takes place in one of our EP labs.

Medication Management

If you have mild arrhythmia symptoms, medications may help. Your doctor may prescribe more than one medication or try different doses to find the right combination and dosage to get your symptoms under control.

About medication management:

  • Heart rate-control medications, such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and digoxin, slow your heart rate or reduce the strength of your heart contractions.
  • Heart rhythm-control medications help the upper and lower parts of your heart work together more efficiently.
  • Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, lower stroke risk by preventing blood clots.