According to the National Stroke Association, up to 80% of strokes in people with AFib (atrial fibrillation) can be prevented. Here in the Gulf South, the electrophysiology team at Ochsner is doing our part to keep strokes at bay. With three dedicated, cutting-edge electrophysiology suites and another in the works, we offer state-of-the-art diagnostics and therapeutics for patients with AFib and other heart rhythm disorders. Today, we are the largest and most comprehensive center for the management of arrhythmias in the region. Moreover, the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular OMC Electrophysiology Lab has received the American College of Cardiology Accreditation for Electrophysiology.
Why Ochsner for Electrophysiology of the Heart Care?
Equipped with the latest technology, the labs at Ochsner allow electrophysiologists to perform procedures more efficiently, effectively and safely. Our team utilizes all the newest 3-dimensional mapping systems, which facilitate the performance of radiofrequency ablation of complex arrhythmias. In our case, high standards have led to high volume: We perform more than 400 ablations annually. Referring physicians across the Gulf South trust Ochsner with their most complex cases.
A History of Firsts in Heart Rhythm Disorders
In collaboration with Advanced Heart Failure team, Ochsner electrophysiologists were the first in the state to implant the Left Atrial Pressure Monitoring Device. This system allows patients to adjust their medications daily based on a physician-directed prescription plan, similar to the way diabetes patients manage their insulin therapy.
In addition, our team was the first facility in the Gulf South region to implant the Nanostim™ leadless pacemaker. Developed for patients with bradycardia – a heart rate that is too slow – the Nanostim™ device is placed directly in a patient’s heart via a catheter without the visible lump, scar and insulated wires required for conventional pacemakers. This is the world’s first retrievable, non-surgical pacing technology and is part of the LEADLESS II Clinical Trial. In Louisiana and Mississippi, Ochsner is currently the only provider to offer this technology and is one of handful of sites in the United States certified to implant this device.
We provide customized care for patients with device complications and infections. Ochsner is home to the first and only electrophysiology team in the region with the skill and training to safely remove devices from the heart using laser extraction.
Conditions treated by the heart electrophysiology team include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Arrhythmias in adults with congenital heart disease
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Heart failure requiring implanted device-based therapy
- Sudden cardiac arrest
Services Provided for Heart Rhythm Disorders Include:
- Radiofrequency ablation of complex arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia
- Contact force sensing technology during radiofrequency ablation
- Left atrial appendage closure – a non-pharmacological option for stroke reduction for patients with atrial fibrillation
- Cryoballoon ablation, a form of catheter ablation that uses freezing to disable heart tissue that causes irregular heartbeats
- Laser assisted extraction of intracardiac devices
- Implantation of devices designed to monitor congestive heart failure
By partnering with interventional cardiology, our team offers multiple options for AFib patients who are unable to take or looking to avoid long term warfarin or blood thinning drug treatments. These include the implantation of the WATCHMAN™ LAAC Device, and the LARIAT™ procedure.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I have to stay in the hospital after a cardiac ablation?
After cardiac ablation, you may have to stay in the hospital overnight.
How long? What’s the average stay after a cardiac ablation?
The average patient leaves the hospital the following morning after surgery. However, some patients leave the hospital the same day after their procedure. It depends on the patient’s condition.
What does recovery look like after a cardiac ablation? How long?
After your cardiac ablation procedure, you may feel a little soreness, but it shouldn’t last longer than a week. It is recommended to make lifestyle changes to improve your heart health, such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and eliminating alcohol. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend:
- Do not drive for two days
- Do not exercise or have sex for a week
- Don not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for a week
What is the success rate of a cardiac ablation?
On average, the success rate for cardiac ablation is 70 to 80%.
What are the symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia?
Cardiac arrhythmia is irregular or abnormal heartbeats. Arrhythmia can have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Pounding in the chest
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
- Weakness or fatigue
What are cardiac arrhythmia types?
- Tachycardia: A fast heart rhythm with a rate of more than 100 beats per minute.
- Bradycardia: A slow heart rhythm with a rate below 60 beats per minute.
- Supraventricular arrhythmias: Arrhythmias that begin in the heart’s upper chambers
- Ventricular arrhythmias: Arrhythmias that begin in the heart’s lower chambers
- Bradyarrhythmias: Slow heart rhythms that may be caused by disease in the heart’s conduction system.
What are the causes of cardiac arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias can be caused by:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Valve disorders
- Electrolyte imbalances in the blood
- Heart attack injury
- Post heart surgery
What does treatment look like for cardiac arrhythmia?
Treatment depends on the type of arrhythmia. The treatment options include medications, lifestyle changes, invasive therapies, electrical devices or surgery.
What kinds of tests diagnose cardiac arrhythmia?
To diagnose arrhythmia, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history and family history. Based on your responses, your doctor will order an EKG and a physical exam as part of your diagnosis. Additional tests may be necessary to help your doctor to determine your treatment option.
Training and Research
Ochsner was the first training facility in the Gulf South for electrophysiology. Today, our team remains dedicated to improving our understanding and management of arrhythmias through research and the training of the next generation of physicians. With two dedicated research nurses and a high volume of patients, Ochsner has access to the latest technologies and remains on the cutting-edge of care.