Electrophysiology (Arrhythmia Care)
Our areas of expertise include:
Procedures such as electrophysiology studies, echocardiograms, and electrocardiograms (EKGs) help us pinpoint the type of arrhythmia you have and what’s causing it. This is key to determining the most effective treatment.
We’re familiar with all the drugs that can help control your irregular heartbeat and prevent the problems it may cause, such as heart attack or stroke. We also offer medicine to help prevent blood clots, a common complication of certain types of arrhythmia.
Cardiac ablation procedures
These minimally invasive procedures use heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) to block the abnormal electrical signals that cause arrhythmia. This helps restore a normal heartbeat—sometimes permanently.
We offer implantable devices that monitor your heart rhythm and make sure your heart beats normally. These include the most up-to-date pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) available. We also offer cardiac resynchronization therapy (biventricular devices) for people with arrhythmia and heart failure.
Our team includes experts in common arrhythmias (like atrial fibrillation), rare arrhythmias, and arrhythmias related to heart failure. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan based on your specific condition, goals, and preferences.
Iowa’s leading arrhythmia experts
The UI Heart and Vascular Center is home to the state’s largest and most experienced team of arrhythmia specialists. We offer more diagnostic and treatment options than any other Iowa health system. And we frequently treat people with challenging arrhythmias who haven’t found relief elsewhere.
Patients also trust us because:
We offer advanced treatments for atrial fibrillation (Afib)
If you still have Afib symptoms despite trying several medications or having several cardiac ablations, our team may be able to help. We offer a specialized procedure called AV node ablation that, when combined with a pacemaker, can significantly improve Afib symptoms.
We treat hard-to-reach arrhythmias
Certain arrythmias can be difficult to treat with cardiac ablation. Usually it’s because the source of the irregular heartbeat is blocked by a heart valve or other structure. Providers across Iowa often refer their patients to the UI Heart and Vascular Center for cardiac ablation. We use innovative techniques that help us access nearly every part of the heart.
We manage dangerous inherited arrhythmias
Certain types of arrhythmia, including Brugada syndrome and long QT syndrome, run in families. These inherited arrhythmias tend to be rare—making them difficult to diagnose. They’re also more likely to cause sudden cardiac death, especially in younger people. Our electrophysiologists have special expertise in these arrhythmias. In collaboration with UI Health Care’s cardiovascular genetics program, we offer testing, diagnosis, and tailored treatments to patients and their immediate family members.
We help patients who can’t tolerate blood thinners
Many people with Afib take blood thinners. That’s because Afib increases the risk of blood clots, which can cause stroke. However, some people develop serious side effects after taking blood thinners. In those cases, we provide eligible patients an effective alternative: a procedure called left atrial appendage closure. During the procedure, we implant a tiny device (called Watchman) into the heart. It closes the part of the heart where blood clots usually form, so they can’t travel to the brain.
Through our clinical trials, you’ll have access to even more potential treatments for arrhythmia. Many of these trials are not available anywhere else in Iowa.
A team approach to arrhythmia care
Many people with arrhythmia also have another heart condition. We believe it’s important for the specialists who treat each condition to work closely together.
We collaborate with a wide range of heart and vascular specialists and other providers across the UI Heart and Vascular Center, including:
For example, if your arrhythmia causes, or is caused by, heart failure, we’ll work closely with your heart failure cardiologist. That way, any procedures we perform will be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes medications, symptom monitoring, and lifestyle changes.
What to expect from UI Heart and Vascular Center electrophysiologists
Whether you have first-time arrhythmia symptoms or your current treatment no longer works, our electrophysiology team can help. Depending on the reason for your in-person or telehealth (video) visit, we may review or discuss:
- The results of any tests you had before your visit and whether you’ll need additional tests
- Your current symptoms and treatment goals
- Your treatment options
- Lifestyle changes that can help improve your arrhythmia symptoms
- Whether you feel better or have side effects following a recent treatment
- Whether it’s time to check or upgrade your implantable device
- Whether you need a referral to another UI Heart and Vascular Center specialist, such as a heart surgeon, for advanced care
Once your arrhythmia symptoms are under control, your electrophysiologist will let you know how often you need to be seen for routine follow-up care.
Electrophysiology tests and treatment
Electrophysiology conditions treated
- Atrial fibrillation (Afib)
- Atrial flutter
- Atrial tachycardia
- Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia
- Brugada syndrome
- Cardiac amyloidosis
- Cardiac sarcoidosis
- Fainting (syncope)
- Fainting (syncope)
- Inherited arrythmias
- Long QT syndrome
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
- Premature ventricular contractions
- Sick sinus syndrome
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome