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Cardiovascular Care

Electrophysiology

The electrophysiology laboratory, specially trained cardiologists called electrophysiologists diagnose and treat patients with arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats caused by various conditions.

South Shore Hospital’s electrophysiology lab is among the busiest in Massachusetts and the only electrophysiology lab in the region. Having this service within the Cardiovascular Center allows us to treat a full array of patients with cardiac problems, not just those with blockages in the blood vessels.

Patients with irregular heartbeats often have symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, palpitations, and fainting or near-fainting.

In South Shore Hospital’s electrophysiology laboratory, board-certified electrophysiologists:

  • Diagnose rapid heartbeats, heart palpitations and more.
    Arrhythmias often come and go, which can make them difficult for an electrocardiogram (ECG) test or even longer-term Holter monitoring to capture. However, during anelectrophysiology study, an electrophysiologist can send electrical impulses into the heart to provoke the abnormal heart rhythm in a safe environment. For thestudy, an electrophysiologist guides an electrode catheter through blood vessels up into the heart to measure and possibly stimulate its electrical conduction system — allowing the physician to diagnose a rhythm disorder andfind the specific areas of heart tissue behind the abnormal electrical impulses.

  • Correct some abnormal heart rhythms.
    In cardiac ablation, electrophysiologists guide catheters through blood vessels up to the problematic heart muscle identified by the electrophysiology study (above). They then use the catheters to deliver a burst of radiofrequency energy to destroy the very small areas of tissue causing the abnormal electrical signals.

  • Implant devices that fight life-threatening heart rhythms.
    Electrophysiologists implant, maintain and test both pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Pacemakers monitor and regulate heart rhythm and send electrical impulses to stimulate the heart if it is beating too slowly. ICDs also monitor and regulate heart rhythm but issue a life-saving jolt of electricity when the heart starts beating dangerously fast.

  • Boost heart function in patients with heart failure.
    South Shore Hospital is proud to be one of the state’s only community hospitals to offer cardiac resynchronization therapy. In this treatment for certain patients with heart failure, an electrophysiologist implants a biventricular pacemaker, which sends small electrical impulses through multiple leads to keep the right and left ventricles pumping together —  improving heart function and the patient’s quality of life.

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