Abnormal heart rhythm care in Largo, Florida

Largo Medical Center's outstanding electrophysiologists diagnose and treat irregular heart beats, which are called arrhythmias. The cardiovascular team at our AFib and Heart Rhythm Center at Largo Medical specializes in atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of arrhythmia.

Once the source of the irregularity is identified, our heart care team and cardiovascular surgeons perform procedures to treat, and even cure, these heartbeat abnormalities.

For a free physician referral or to learn more about our AFib treatment services, call (888) 741-5115.

Understanding arrhythmia

At Largo Medical, we are committed to helping you achieve your greatest heart health. We know that part of reaching that goal includes education. In order to inform you about arrhythmia, we first must explain the heart's electrical system.

The body naturally produces electricity, which travels over the heart muscle and stimulates the heart to contract or beat. When the heart's electrical system malfunctions, by either beating too slowly or too fast, it can result in irregular heartbeats.

Arrhythmias can signal an underlying heart disease. They can also lead to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and even heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of a cardiac arrhythmia

Some arrhythmias may occur without any symptoms. Others, such as AFib, may cause noticeable symptoms, including:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness, sensation of lightheadedness
  • Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
  • Sensation of a missed or extra heart beat
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Types of heart arrhythmias

There are various kinds of arrhythmias:

  • Heartbeats that are too slow (bradycardia)
  • Heartbeats that are too fast (tachycardia)
  • Extra beats
  • Skipped beats
  • Beats coming from abnormal areas of the heart
  • AFib

Atrial fibrillation

AFib is the most common type of arrhythmia and it tends to occur most frequently in older people and those with heart disease.

The heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses which begin in the atria, or upper chamber of your heart. With AFib, these electrical impulses are erratic, causing a rapid and irregular heartbeat. This affects the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body.

Less blood being pumped to the body, including our brain, can lead to blood clots or stroke. In fact, AFib is the primary cause of stroke and can lead to heart failure.

Symptoms of AFib

It is possible to have AFib without showing any symptoms, or you may have a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Passing out or fainting

Diagnosing a heart arrhythmia

We offer advanced heart screening and imaging services, which allow our cardiologists to determine if you may have arrhythmia and are in need of treatment.

Electrophysiology (EP) studies help us identify the cause of your arrhythmia. During this procedure, electrical signals are sent through a catheter, triggering your heart to beat at different speeds. Your electrophysiologist watches the video monitor during the procedure and uses the forced signals to trace the origin of the irregular heartbeat. Knowing the location of the irregularity helps us determine the most effective treatment option for you.

Arrhythmia treatments we offer

At Largo Medical, we offer a full range of treatments and procedures to correct and prevent arrhythmias. Some of these include:

  • Cardioversion—During this procedure, an electric shock is delivered to the chest through electrodes or paddles to correct a threatening heart rhythm.
  • Cryoablation—This catheter procedure is a type of cardiac ablation using extremely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy defective tissue, restoring a normal heart rhythm.
  • Defibrillator implantation—This procedure is the implantation of defibrillators, devices which correct arrhythmias and can even help the heart begin beating again if it stops.
  • Medications and blood thinners—Prescribed medications can help with irregular heartbeat
  • Pacemaker insertion—The insertion of a pacemaker, a device regulating heart rhythms

Pacemaker insertion

A pacemaker helps regulate your heart rhythm by keeping your heart contracting and pumping blood. It is a small device (about the size of two silver dollars stuck together) placed under the skin of your chest just below the collarbone. The pacemaker runs on batteries and sends out electrical impulses to keep the heart beating at its proper speed.

The pacemaker is always sensing your own heartbeats. It paces your heart only when it has waited a certain amount of time and no heartbeats have occurred.