Electrophysiology (Heart Rhythm) Program

Electrophysiology (Heart Rhythm) Program

About the Program

The Heart Center at Children's Hospital provides comprehensive and interventional procedures for patients with heart rhythm abnormalities, which include conditions that cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or at an irregular pace.

We understand that children’s bodies are different from adults. So, when they have a heart defect or abnormal heart rhythm, they need specialized pediatric care.

Working alongside a team of highly trained anesthesiologists, we use various sophisticated techniques to treat pediatric patients in a safe and comfortable environment. Diagnostic capabilities include Holter and event monitoring, implantable loop recorders, exercise stress testing, tilt tables, as well as transesophageal and transcatheter electrophysiology studies. Our program also provides an in-depth evaluation of patients with a family history of sudden cardiac death or familial dysrhythmias.

Electrophysiology studies, ablation procedures, and implantation of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators are performed in one of our two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. We have access to technologies including advanced 3-D mapping, cryoablation, and intracardiac ultrasound.

Conditions we treat

We are highly trained to treat a variety of heart defects and arrhythmias, including:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Fainting
  • Abnormal EKG findings
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Heart block
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Sudden cardiac arrest

Who we treat

Our team sees patients in-utero, through infancy, childhood and into adulthood. We work closely with our other cardiology care teams (from our fetal echocardiographers to our adult congenital cardiologists) so that our patients don’t miss a beat and are able to make a seamless transition to adult care as they grow older.

What Makes Us Different

Expert team: Our two experienced and board-certified pediatric electrophysiologists work collaboratively with a team of specialists from various disciplines, including pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, pediatric cardiac interventionalists, cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric nurses, geneticists, psychologists, social workers, and others. This multi-disciplinary approach allows us to create specialized treatment plans for each of our patients.

Innovative treatments: We utilize advanced and often minimally invasive ablation technology such as cryoablation to fix arrhythmias at their source. Cryoablation is a catheter-based freezing technique that is often safer and more precise than traditional heating (radio frequency) ablation. We also perform implantation of pacemakers, intracardiac defibrillator (ICD) devices (including sub-cutaneous ICDs) and implantable loop recorders. Nearly all of these utilize technology which allows patients to transmit information from their device at home via the internet or cellular service, often wirelessly.

Genetic testing: Many pediatric arrhythmias are genetic. We work closely with our geneticists and genetic counselors to provide testing and counseling for families affected by hereditary heart rhythm disorders.

Post-surgery care: After cardiothoracic surgery, some children experience heart rhythm abnormalities. If that happens, our specialists are prepared to quickly identify and correct these issues both in the operating room and back on the intensive care unit.

Comprehensive program: Here at CHNOLA, we maintain a high-volume clinic to provide outpatient evaluation and follow-up for patients with arrhythmias of all types.

Tests that can be performed

To help the doctor learn more about your child’s heart rhythm, tests can be done. These include:

  • Electrocardiography (ECG). This test records electrical signals from your child’s heart onto a paper strip. The pattern of these signals can help the doctor tell whether your child’s heart is normal, under stress, or having electrical or rhythm problems. The test lasts about 10 minutes.
  • Holter monitoring. A Holter monitor is a portable device that records your child’s heart rhythm continuously for up to 14 days. This device helps the doctor check for arrhythmias that occur frequently but randomly. It's a device attached to an adhesive patch that you can wear away from the doctor's office. It continuously monitors the heart rhythm while it's being worn.
  • Event monitoring. An event monitor is a portable device that records your child’s heart rhythm when symptoms occur. It’s generally used for periods up to a month. This device helps the doctor check for arrhythmias that occur randomly and infrequently. When symptoms occur, you can activate the button to record the heart rhythm at that moment which syncs up with the symptom with the heart rhythm is at that moment.
  • Implantable loop recorder insertion. When symptoms are infrequent, but severe, a small device can be placed under the skin to monitor the heart rhythm for up to 3-5 years. The device communicates wirelessly to a transmitter to notify our clinic of rhythm abnormalities that arise while the device is implanted. Insertion is generally performed with light to moderate sedation and local anesthetic and takes only a few minutes.
  • Exercise Stress Testing. This test combines ECG testing with metabolic testing during exercise. ECG stickers are placed on the patient and a mouth-breathing apparatus can be used while the patient walks on a treadmill at increasing speed and incline to monitor for abnormal stress response or rhythm abnormalities during exertion.
  • Invasive electrophysiology studies. Sometimes, more specific information regarding an abnormal heart rhythm is required to make the diagnosis or treat the condition. In these cases, catheters can be placed while patient is under anesthesia through the blood vessels and into the heart to study the electrical rhythms of the heart. Once identified, rhythm abnormalities can often be treated with an ablation catheter capable of burning or freezing a small scar in the area of abnormal electrical conduction.

Locations:

To make an appointment or to get a second opinion, please call 504.896.9289.

Children’s Hospital New Orleans
200 Henry Clay Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118

Children’s Hospital Ridgelake Clinic
2121 Ridgelake Dr. 2nd Floor
Metairie, LA 70001

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