The Electrophysiology, Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Program team at Rush provides the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options for patients with an arrhythmia or congestive heart failure. And as clinicians who also conduct research, they continue to look for new treatment options.
These are just some of the innovative treatments offered at Rush:
- Leadless pacemakers (e.g., Micra), which are wireless and significantly smaller than standard pacemakers. This innovative technology has been associated with fewer complications than traditional pacemakers.
- His bundle pacing. This innovative approach involves stimulating the Bundle of His (or His bundle) instead of the right ventricle. Electrophysiologists at Rush are among the most experienced in the nation in the use of His bundle pacing and have a 95 percent success rate, which is higher than the success rate nationally.
- Cardiac ablation, an outpatient minimally invasive procedure that can potentially cure certain arrhythmias. Electrophysiologists at Rush were among the first in Illinois to perform ablation using the HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System, which allows them to see inside a beating heart while delivering laser energy during ablation. This enhanced visualization means surgeons can more accurately pinpoint and apply laser heat to the precise area where the extra electrical signals are being produced. Ultimately this advantage may reduce the likelihood that a patient will need a repeat ablation procedure.
- Watchman device, an alternative to blood thinner medications (e.g., warfarin) for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. Watchman is a permanent heart implant that can lower the risk of stroke compared to lifelong use of warfarin.
- VASCADE MVP, a vessel closure device that helps patients to get back on their feet in as little as two hours — rather than the typical recovery period of six to 10 hours — after cardiac electrophysiology procedures such as cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation. The shorter recovery period with the VASCADE MVP device also typically means less pain medication is required after an ablation. Rush is the first hospital in Illinois to use this innovative device.
The program welcomes patients seeking second opinions.
Specialized care for atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, affecting between 2.7 and 6.1 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association. And that number continues to grow as people continue to live longer and as the occurrence of risk factors increases.
Atrial fibrillation is a chronic disease and requires lifelong care. Left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots and strokes.
Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include the following:
- Advanced age
- Binge drinking alcohol
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- High-level athletics
- Sleep apnea
- Underlying heart disease, such as valve problems
This condition can be challenging to manage. It often requires ongoing assessment and care from electrophysiologists as well as multiple specialists. The atrial fibrillation clinic at Rush addresses those challenges by providing the following:
- Expertise of electrophysiologists who specialize in caring for heart beat irregularities. They often collaborate closely with other specialists at Rush — cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, sleep specialists and dietitians — to provide advanced care.
- The latest diagnostic and treatment options, including anti-arrhythmic drugs and more advanced treatments including catheter based ablation procedures (a minimally invasive catheter based procedure to decrease the burden of disease), pacemakers and surgical hybrid procedures.
- Assessment of individual risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation and discussion of options available to minimize that risk.
- Help managing risk factors, such as diabetes and sleep apnea, through diet, exercise, medications and other treatments.
- Personalized care tailored to your unique needs.
- Access to clinical trials for treatments that are not yet widely available.