Am I able to seek in-person care at my doctor's office or at the hospital? If so, is it safe?

Yes, our offices are open to provide you high-quality care in person from our cardiac specialists. The health and safety of our patients, families and staff is our top priority. We know that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, so we’re taking a comprehensive approach to provide you and your loved ones the safest possible environment. Read our Safe Care Commitment.

Are visitors allowed as the hospital reopens?

We welcome visitors to provide support to their loved one while they are receiving care. Read our latest Visitor Policy

 

Am I able to begin or continue my cardiac care during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, our cardiac specialists are seeing patients with Virtual Visits and in person office visits.

If I have a heart condition or rhythm disorder, am I at higher risk for getting COVID-19?

COVID-19 poses a greater risk to individuals who have underlying health conditions, including cardiovascular disease. You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing, keeping away from people who are sick, cleaning your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands, cleaning surfaces you touch frequently, and taking advantage of Virtual Visits for your care. If you have concerns or specific questions about your individual risk, our cardiac specialists are available to discuss care during COVID-19 with Virtual Visits. 

I’ve been told I’m not a candidate for treatment, what are my options?

We often see patients who have been told there’s nothing that can be done, or they aren’t good candidates for interventions. We pride ourselves in finding the right treatment plan based on each patient’s unique needs and health and having the diagnostic and clinical expertise to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. Call 857-307-6048 or request a Virtual Visit to speak with one of our clinicians.

What are the most common heart rhythm disorders?

Heart rhythm disorders fall into two categories. Those that start from inside the heart's lower chambers are called ventricular arrhythmias because the lower chambers of the heart are the ventricles. Those that start outside or above the ventricles are called supraventricular arrhythmias. The most common types of arrhythmia include:

  • Premature atrial contraction (PAC or APC): the heart contracts earlier than expected, adding an extra heartbeat
  • Supraventricular tachycardia or paroxysmal SVT: the heart beats rapidly because of abnormal electrical impulses above the lower heart chamber
  • Sick sinus syndrome: the electrical system in the heart fires abnormally, slowing down the heart rate
  • Atrial fibrillation (Afib): the heart sends electrical impulses at a fast rate, causing a fast and irregular heartbeat
  • Atrial flutter: the heart misfires its electrical impulses, bringing on an irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Premature ventricular complex (PVC): the heart fires an abnormal electrical impulse, causing an early heartbeat. Usually, the heart returns to its normal rhythm right away.
What are the treatment options for atrial fibrillation (Afib)?

Our team can create an individualized treatment plan for you based on your age, overall health, medical history, severity of the disease, and other factors. Treatment may include medication, interventional or surgical procedures.

Medications:

  • Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) to prevent blood clots that can lead to stroke
  • Antiarrhythmics to help to keep the heart in normal rhythm

Interventional and Surgical Procedures:

  • Catheter ablation (cardiac ablation), which uses heat to eliminate small areas of the heart tissue causing heart rhythm problems
  • Cardioversion, which uses an electrical current to restore a normal heartbeat
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device placed under the skin that delivers an electric shock if your heart beats abnormally
  • Pacemaker, a small device implanted in the chest that helps the heart beat in a normal rhythm

If you do develop Afib, the specialists from our Heart Rhythm Disorders Program can create an individualized treatment plan for you based on your age, overall health, and other factors. Treatment for Afib may include medications or interventions. Call or request a Virtual Visit to speak with a clinician at 857-386-0378.

Is Afib hereditary?

It can be. Atrial fibrillation that is inherited is called familial atrial fibrillation. Brigham and Women’s Heart and Vascular Genetics Program is on the forefront of research into the molecular basis for genetic cardiac disease and applying that knowledge to the clinical setting, enhancing the care of patients and their families.

If you have a relative who has been diagnosed with Afib and are concerned about your risks, talk with your doctor or make an appointment. We offer comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and management of those with inherited cardiac disorders and specialize in managing the following conditions:

  • Familial atrial fibrillation
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Marfan syndrome and connective tissue disorders
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
  • Long QT syndrome and other inherited arrhythmias, including Brugada syndrome and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia
  • Familial sudden cardiac death
  • Inherited aortic aneurysms
  • Premature coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction
What causes Afib?

Many factors can contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Obesity
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Sleep apnea
What is the difference between polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and monomorphic ventricular tachycardia?

In polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, the QRS waves that appear on an EKG are not symmetrical. This is because each ventricular impulse can be generated from a different location. On the rhythm strip, the QRS might be somewhat taller or wider. In monomorphic ventricular tachycardia the RS are symmetrical. This is because each ventricular impulse is being generated from the same place in the ventricles.

What are the causes of ventricular tachycardia?

In most cases, ventricular tachycardia is caused by heart disease, such as a previous heart attack, a congenital heart defect, hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy, or myocarditis. However, in some cases, it can also run in families or occur in people who have had no previous heart problems.

How long does ventricular tachycardia last?

Ventricular tachycardia may only last for a few seconds or for much longer. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when symptoms do occur they may include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting.

What is the difference between ventricular tachycardia and supraventricular tachycardia?

Heart rhythm disturbances that originate in the upper heart chambers are referred to as supraventricular tachycardias (SVT), and as a group are the most common type of arrhythmia. These arrhythmias are generally considered benign and are not life-threatening. Your physician or nurse will explain what type of SVT you have. Heart rhythm disturbances that originate in the lower pumping chambers are called ventricular tachycardia (VT). Ventricular tachycardia tends to be more serious than supraventricular tachycardia and are generally life-threatening.

What is it like living with a heart rhythm disorder?

Living with a heart rhythm disorder can vary based on the type of condition you have. While some people may have no symptoms, others may have symptoms that interfere significantly with their day-to-day life. Learn more by watching our video, Living with Atrial Fibrillation.

How do I make an appointment?

Providers at the Heart & Vascular Center are currently offering Virtual Visits for all types of appointments. Please call 857-307-6048 or request a Virtual Visit.

Can I get a Second Opinion?

Our clinicians in the Heart & Vascular Center are available and willing to offer second opinions. We understand when you or a family member is experiencing health challenges, finding the right path forward can feel challenging. We’re here to help. Our team of clinicians will evaluate your condition and advise you on a course of action.

How do I refer a patient to the Heart & Vascular Center?

If you’d like to refer a patient to the Heart & Vascular Center, please call us at 857-307-6048 and we will connect you with the appropriate division or clinician. You can also connect with our physician liaison team at 617-582-4733.

Request an Appointment

We are steadfast in our commitment to treating you in the safest possible environment and are seeing patients both in person and through Virtual Visits. To request an appointment, please call 857-307-6048 Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm ET or complete the form to receive a callback.

 
 

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