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Heart rhythm management (electrophysiology)

The heart rhythm management program at Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute® diagnoses and treats heart rhythm problems, also called “irregular heartbeat” or “arrhythmia.” These issues are the result of abnormal electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. An electrophysiologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats patients who have an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Electrophysiologists complete all the training of a cardiologist (heart doctor), plus at least two more years of training in electrophysiology.

There are several options available to treat heart rhythm problems. Patients first undergo testing to determine the type of arrhythmia before meeting with a physician to develop a treatment plan based on symptoms, patient age and other factors.


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Electrophysiology study (EPS)

An electrophysiology study (EPS) is a detailed study of the heart's electrical system and is done to investigate an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).



Normal heart rhythm is restored using a defibrillator (electric cardioversion) or medications (pharmacologic cardioversion).

Catheter Ablation

A special catheter is used to deliver high-frequency energy to destroy a tiny portion of the problem heart tissue from the area of arrhythmia.

Pacemaker and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator 

A permanent therapy, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be required if your heart has a problem conducting impulses from the upper to lower chambers of the heart. Patients who need pacemakers or ICDs are enrolled in a follow-up surveillance program.

Generally, patients can expect to have their new device evaluated two months after implantation and then every three to four months thereafter. In addition to clinic visits, follow up by telephone is also used to monitor the functionality of the device. The Pacemaker and ICD Follow Up Clinic Program is offered at several locations throughout Minnesota.

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