The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout our bodies to keep all of our systems running and functioning properly. It beats without our awareness, so we can often take the work that this organ does for us for granted.
If the electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of our heartbeats malfunctions, we can experience major health consequences. Buckeye Heart and Vascular Institute, a cardiologist and vascular specialist office located in Dayton, OH, describes the role of electrophysiology in the function of the heart so that we can better understand this vital organ.
How Does the Heart Work?
The heart contains a stimulus in the sinoatrial node. It naturally creates an electrical pulse that sends signals through the heart to contract its muscles. This muscle movement expels the blood from the heart and into the rest of your body.
The heart’s ventricles relax after this and fill with blood until another electrical pulse occurs, and the heartbeat process repeats. This system ensures that blood flows and reaches your other body parts in a timely fashion so that they can function properly.
What Happens If the Heart’s Electrical System Malfunctions?
If the electrical system that powers the heart malfunctions, beating too quickly, too slowly, or too irregularly, medical professionals refer to the issue as an arrhythmia. Symptoms of this condition include shortness of breath, dizziness, and fainting.
Though these symptoms may seem mild, you should contact a medical professional if conditions persist or worsen. An untreated cardiovascular concern could heighten an individual’s risk for blood clots or sudden cardiac arrest, among other life-threatening problems.
A cardiologist can evaluate the heart’s electrical system by conducting tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), which measures the electrical activity of the heart using nodes on a patient’s chest, legs, and arms. They may also use other monitors that record and track the heart’s rhythm. These devices may be worn over a period of hours, days, or months, depending on the patient’s unique needs.
How Can a Cardiologist Treat an Electrophysiological Problem?
After an electrophysiology study, a doctor may determine that you require treatment to help regulate your heartbeat. Some patients may need an implanted cardiac device to control the electrical system of their heart.
A pacemaker is a device that a doctor will surgically place in the chest which will send electrical pulses to the heart and amend an arrhythmia. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators are similar devices that can be placed below the collarbone. It monitors the heartbeat and sends an electrical pulse to adjust and regulate the patient’s heart rate if it begins beating irregularly.
Learn More from Your Cardiologist in Dayton, OH
Buckeye Heart and Vascular Institute provides expert imaging and diagnostics from trained cardiologists in Dayton, OH. Receive a nuclear stress test, cardiac rhythm monitoring, electrophysiology studies, and more cardiovascular services at our medical center. To schedule a consultation or appointment with our practice, contact our staff by phone at 937.203.8602 or reach our office online.