Our experienced Consultants and teams are experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of heart rhythm problems and put the patient at the centre of treatment decisions.
Heart rhythm problems, also known as ‘arrhythmias’, are common in the general population. The majority of these are not life-threatening but dangerous ‘arrhythmias’ can occur and need prompt treatment. The two major types of heart rhythm abnormalities are slow heart rhythm and fast heart rhythm problems.
There are several ways we can reach a diagnosis using a number of different possible tests. These include heart monitoring devices which can be worn on the outside of the body. Your specialist may recommend you need a heart scan to assess your heart’s structure and function. Our cardiac imaging department offers echocardiograms, stress echocardiograms, coronary CT scanning and cardiac MRI. Sometimes, a small implantable monitoring device can be implanted under the skin to monitor the heart rhythm over months or years (called an ‘implantable loop recorder’). Other tests we use include exercise treadmill tests, Tilt Table Tests and Genetic Testing.
Our department offers the full range of treatments for heart rhythm problems and your specialist will discuss the appropriate options for you. Patients with minor arrhythmias do not always need specific treatment. Your specialist may recommend medication to take as needed, or on a regular basis. Other patients require a cardioversion treatment which is performed using strong sedation or a general anaesthetic. Here, electricity is delivered in a controlled way to the outside of the chest wall with the aim of restoring normal rhythm.
Some patients need treatments beyond medication to treat their heart rhythm problem. USHM performs over 700 catheter ablation procedures per year, where tubes are passed up from the leg into the heart and electrical readings are taken inside the heart. Your Consultant can then deliver a targeted burn or freeze to the inside of the heart, which treats the electrical short-circuits which cause arrhythmias. Most are carried out as a day case procedure but sometimes a single night stay in hospital is necessary.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common form of heart rhythm problems, causing an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. This condition becomes more prevalent as we age. At MFT we have an established ablation program to treat this condition. We audit the results of AF ablation annually including our success rates, complications and patient satisfaction surveys. We have presented our audit data at national and international meetings and we strive to maintain the very highest standards of outcomes with the lowest possible complication rates.
Other treatments we offer are the full range of implantable electronic cardiac devices, such as pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and biventricular devices. Our Advanced Devices Service performs over 1,400 device operations per year and over 8000 device follow-up checks.
Patients who may have heart rhythm problems or who need specialised treatment will have their care supervised by a Consultant Cardiologist. We put a great emphasis on listening to our patients as individuals, fully explaining the range of treatment options and managing them according to their wishes. Our patients are also likely to meet other doctors in the team, our advanced cardiac physiologists and members of our specialist arrhythmia nurse team.
ICD (Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator) Patient Support Group at MFT
This volunteer Patient Support Group was set up in 2002 to help, educate and support the patients, their relatives and carers who have had an ICD implanted. Three times a year the support group produces a newsletter, full of information and stories with informative informal education presentations on subjects suggested by patients.
Please follow the link to the web site for more information: http://wythenshaweicd.wixsite.com/icdsupport.
Patients can be referred to our service by their GPs.
Heart Rhythm Service
Tel: 0161 291 4615