Regional Hospital of Scranton Treats Abnormal Heart Rhythms with Ablation Therapy
Regional Hospital of Scranton's Dr. Geyfman.
Feb. 27, 2012 — In a recent episode of the hit television series, Parenthood, one of the main characters, Zeek Braverman, the family patriarch, played by Craig T. Nelson, was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia. Arrythmia is the medical name for a disorder that impacts the rhythm of the heart, such as beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.
Physicians at Regional Hospital of Scranton are treating some patients with abnormal heart rhythms non-surgically using a catheter-based technique called ablation.
For patients who are candidates for non-surgical ablation, the procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. Occasionally an overnight stay is needed for observation.
The cause of cardiac arrhythmia stems from a problem in the way electrical signals or impulses travel within the heart muscle. These faulty signals affect the way the heart beats. "A high percentage of arrhythmias are harmless, but others can be serious or even life threatening," explained Vitaly Geyfman, DO. Dr. Geyfman noted that the symptoms of irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm include palpitations, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest discomfort.
Thomas Bolesta, director of the cardiac catherization lab at Regional explained that during the procedure, a catheter inserted through a small incision, usually in the groin, arm or neck, is introduced into a blood vessel and into the heart. Either cold or heat at the tip of the catheter is applied to the muscle of the heart, destroying the tissue that conducts irregular electrical signals.
Patients who experience irregular heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter or supraventricular tachycardia are usually on daily medications including Coumadin, an anticoagulant used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in veins and arteries. "We can see a high degree of success using ablation," Mr. Bolesta noted. "And most of the patients we treat using this therapy are able to stop their medications and return to their normal lives."
Dr. Geyfman and his colleague, Matthew Stopper, MD, are associated with Great Valley Cardiology and perform several of these procedures every week in the Heart Rhythm Center at Regional Hospital of Scranton.
Some patients who experience irregular heartbeats are not candidates for cardiac ablation, but benefit from pacemaker implants or defibrillator implants. Pacemaker implants are small electronic devices that generate electrical signals that keep the heart beating normally. Defibrillator implants are devices that sends pulses to the heart to return it to a normal rhythm during dangerous changes in heartbeat.