Rhythm Clinic

Rhythm Clinic Director
J. Vijay Jayachandran, M.D.

Click here to read Dr. J. Vijay Jayachandran's bio

General Cardiology
This refers to the treatment of a series of conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), abnormality of the hearts valves and pump function (valvular heart disease and cardiac myopathy) and heart abnormality that is the consequence of disease elsewhere in the body. Often these conditions lead to abnormality of heart rhythm too.

Abnormal Heart Rhythms
The heart has a complex electrical controlling system. In the past two decades much has been learned about the conditions that cause abnormality of heart electrical control and this understanding has also lead to the development of new treatments, many of which are actually curative.

Some types of heart rhythm abnormality can be life threatening.

Indeed, the sad phenomenon of “sudden cardiac death” is a major cause of death in the developed world and accounts for around 100,000 deaths per year. Many of these deaths relate to abnormality of heart rhythm that is the consequence of disease in the heart arteries (coronary artery disease). It is one of our jobs to identify such patients and put in place preventative treatments to protect individuals who are at risk. The abnormal heart rhythm called “atrial fibrillation” can also have important consequences and in some circumstances is a cause of strokes. Other relatively uncommon rhythm abnormalities can be inherited and it may be important to “screen” the relatives of affected individuals to ensure that others have-not inherited an abnormal rhythm condition.

However, many types of abnormal heart rhythm are not life threatening, even if they cause very irritating or disabling symptoms.

Fortunately, there are many types of treatment available to treat these abnormalities, dangerous or not. Treatments may range from use of specific drugs that help control the heart’s electrical system to more complex treatments: as implantation of pacemakers and other “implantable" devices such as implantable defibrillators, and complex, often curative treatments called “catheter ablation”. More details of these treatments are provided in the patient information and glossary pages.

Patients may undergo a number of procedures to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of some arrhythmias including the following:

  • Pacemakers – Single, Dual, BIVPM
  • Defibrillators – Single, Dual, BIVICD
  • Ablations

                 Atrial Flutter Ablation
     AV Node Ablation
     Pulmonary Vein Isolation & Atrial Fibrillation Ablation
     PVC Ablation
     Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation
     SVT Ablation
     Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation

The normal electrical system of the heart
The heart has its own electrical conduction system. The conduction system sends signals throughout the upper (atria) and lower (ventricles) chambers of the heart to make it beat in a regular, coordinated rhythm. The conduction system consists of two nodes that contain conduction cells and special pathways that transmit the impulse.

The normal heartbeat begins when an electrical impulse is fired from the sinus node (SA node), in the right atrium. The sinus node is responsible for setting the rate and rhythm of the heart and is therefore referred to as the heart's natural "pacemaker”.

The electrical impulse fired from the SA node spreads throughout the atria, causing them to contract and squeeze blood into the ventricles. The electrical impulse then reaches the atrioventricular node (AV node), which acts as a gateway, slowing and regulating the impulses travelling between the atria and the ventricles. As the impulse travels down the pathways into the ventricles the heart contracts and pumps blood around the body. The cycle then begins all over again.

The normal adult heart beats in a regular pattern 60-100 times a minute; this is called sinus rhythm.

Diagram of the heart’s electrical system

Description: heart

What is an arrhythmia?
Sometimes, if the conduction pathway is damaged or becomes blocked; or if an extra pathway exists, the heart's rhythm changes. The heart may beat too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) or irregularly which may affect the heart's ability to pump blood around the body. These abnormal heartbeats are known as arrhythmias. Arrhythmias can occur in the upper chambers of the heart, the atria or in the lower chambers of the heart, the ventricles.

If you have any of these conditions or suspect that you do, talk to your primary care physician and call our office to schedule an appointment today. Let Fort Worth Heart help you get your life back in Rhythm.

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Helpful Links

American Heart Association (AHA)

American Heart Association – Tarrant County (AHA-TC)

American College of Cardiology (ACC)

Baylor All Saints Fort Worth Heart and Vascular

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