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Arrhythmia Care

Choose UNC Medical Center’s arrhythmia specialists for comprehensive care of your heart’s electrical system, including diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation and other irregular heartbeats.

Advanced Facilities

Rest assured you’ll receive exceptional arrhythmia care at UNC Medical Center. You benefit from access to advanced academic medical center technology, surgical services, computer-based mapping and ablation techniques.

What Do Electrophysiologists Do?

You’ll appreciate working with our expert electrophysiologists—cardiology doctors with advanced training in heart rhythms—who’ll collaborate with a multidisciplinary group of academic medical center cardiac specialists. Your electrophysiologist can:

  • Evaluate symptoms like dizziness, fainting and weakness
  • Determine the cause and location of an arrhythmia
  • Assess the need for implantable devices, such as pacemakers
  • Check to see if a medication is working correctly
  • Treat a heart rhythm problem with medications, a minimally invasive procedure, or implantation of a pacemaker or defibrillator

Team Care Approach

Get help for your irregular heartbeat from our electrophysiologists who work closely with other members of the heart and vascular team–heart failure specialists, general cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and others–to ensure the best treatment program for your specific condition and quality of life.

Diagnosing Arrhythmia

In addition to other diagnostic procedures, your doctor will perform electrophysiology studies (EPS) to check for abnormal heartbeats. During EPS, your doctor inserts a special catheter into a vein in your neck or groin and threads it into your heart. Tiny electrodes at the tip of the catheter allow your doctor to send electrical signals to your heart and record its electrical activity. With this information, your doctor can identify your heart rhythm problem and locate the area(s) needing treatment.

The tests typically last one to four hours but could take longer if your doctor decides to perform treatment at the same time.

Types of Arrhythmia

If you’re diagnosed with arrhythmia, your doctor will explain which condition affects you. The four main types of arrhythmia are:

  • Premature (extra) beats – Too-early heartbeats that disrupt your heart’s rhythm; may occur in the upper chambers (premature atrial contractions) or the lower chambers (premature ventricular contractions) and usually need no treatment
  • Supraventricular arrhythmias – Fast heart rates, or tachycardias, that start in your heart’s upper chambers (atria) or atrioventricular (AV) node; includes atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Ventricular arrhythmias – Arrhythmias that start in the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles); includes ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation
  • Bradyarrhythmias – A slower-than-normal heart rate, resulting in not enough blood flow to the brain

You’ll value UNC Medical Center’s high quality, comprehensive care and treatment for the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation.

Treating Arrhythmias

Your UNC Medical Center heart and vascular team may recommend medications for your arrhythmia or one of these procedures we offer:

Contact Us

Call the Heart & Vascular Center referral line at 866-862-4327 to find specialists, make an appointment or learn more about preventing heart disease.

Open Access is a new physician referral service, created by the UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care, which coordinates all admissions and transfers through a single phone call and guarantees immediate acceptance for patients. Please contact us to learn more or call 866-862-4327.

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