World-Class EP Lab in Denton
Courtesy Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, Denton County LIVING WELL Magazine
According to the American Heart Association, arrhythmia—also known as an irregular heartbeat — is a common issue that occurs when the heartbeat is chaotic, too slow or too fast due to abnormal electrical impulses. While an occasional irregular heartbeat isn’t always dangerous, arrhythmia can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body’s organs and lead to long-term damage and even death. As a result, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical.
Prior to the EP Lab opening at Texas Health Denton in 2010, there were no other local options for electrophysiology diagnostics and treatment. The EP Lab’s services—which include advanced diagnostic imaging, ablation, and the implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators — proved so popular that the technology was updated and the lab was renovated and expanded in early 2013.
“After our EP Lab opened three years ago, we quickly realized we had a large population who needed these services,” says Haris Naseem, M.D., electrophysiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Denton. “The expansion of our fully equipped, very robust program allows our three full-time, board-certified electrophysiologists to see more patients with significantly reduced wait times.”
What is an EP Lab?
In the EP Lab at Texas Health Denton, patients have access to these advanced services:
• Ablation studies. During this nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure, a small catheter is inserted through the groin to access the heart. The electrophysiologist can then use either heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) deployed through the catheter to destroy the cardiac tissue that causes the irregular rhythm.
• Cardiac mapping. Using electrode-tipped catheters threaded from the groin to the heart, the electrophysiologist is able to detect and monitor electrical activity in the chambers of the heart to diagnose irregularities and inform treatment.
• Defibrillator and pacemaker implantation. These devices, which are inserted through small incisions in the chest, help regulate heart rhythm. The defibrillator detects severe arrhythmia and shocks the heart into beating at a regular rate to prevent cardiac arrest. A pacemaker controls less serious arrhythmia, with either fixed-rate electrical impulses or electrical impulses that adjust based on the patient’s activity level.
“The Texas Health Denton EP Lab has a highly trained and very specialized staff, including physician assistants, nurses and other support staff,” Dr. Naseem says. “As a result, our lab offers Denton’s most robust option for EP services.
The Beat Goes On
While you might think of a heartbeat as a single event, it’s actually an amazing synchronization of activity that helps ensure blood is distributed throughout the body.
The human heart is designed to beat in an organized and synchronized fashion with both upper atria chambers beating before the lower ventricle chambers. This allows the blood to come back from the body to the upper, right chamber and return from the lungs to the upper, left chamber. The blood then moves to the ventricles, and from there, it is pumped out of the heart. This systematic contraction of the heart muscle occurs through coordinated activity of the conduction “electrical” system.
If your heart beats too slow, too fast or irregularly, you can experience symptoms that include palpitations, dizziness or loss of consciousness. When these symptoms are present, it’s critical that you have your heart evaluated by an electrophysiologist––such as those available through the Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton.
To learn more about Texas Health Denton’s heart and vascular services, visit www.TexasHealth.org/Denton-heart.