Modern Medicine: Treatment for Heart Rhythm Abnormalities - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Modern Medicine: Treatment for Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

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Panama City, Fla. -

An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat.  Doctors can treat it by performing a cardiac ablation, all while using a mapping system to view the heart in three dimensions.

Charles Nichols says his resting heart rate would often be 140 beats per minute before the cardiac ablation.

He says, "I would be short of breath.  I couldn't do anything that would require any type of exertion at all."  That's before Nichols had a cardiac ablation.

Cardiac Electrophysiologist Dr. Hari Baddigam says, "Cardiac ablation is a procedure where we pass a small spaghetti sized catheter into one of the blood vessels in the groin, go to the heart and find out where the short circuit is, and we burn that area for a lack of a better word."

Baddigam says doctors at Bay Medical-Sacred Heart are aided by equipment that allows them to get a closer look inside the heart.

The system maps the heart based on the electrical signals of the heart muscle and vessels. The doctor can then find the part of the heart causing the irregular heartbeat.

By burning the area causing the short circuit, this blocks the bad signal.  Patients stay in the hospital overnight for observation.  There's essentially no cutting because the catheter is inserted through an IV line.

Nichols says, "Dr. Baddigam gave me a new lease on life...About 2 months after I had this done, I painted the house...and lots of fishing...lots of fishing all day long that I couldn't have done before."

Dr. Baddigam says before the availability of mapping and ablation, doctors had to perform open heart surgery to correct arrhythmia problems, so this is a much less invasive option.