January 2020 Health Matters

The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • January 2020 HealthMatters

Is Your HEART Skipping a Beat?

“The procedure can take from one to four hours and has a low complication rate

of less than two percent, even in older patients.” -DR. DINESH SHARMA

NCH Heart Institute Offers a Procedure to Fix That

Y ou may be stressed out, upset, have an existing heart condition or simply be resting comfortably in a chair. Suddenly, you feel lightheaded, your heart starts pounding, or you suddenly become aware of your own heartbeat, and its rhythm seems to be off. These are some of the signs and symptoms of premature ventricular contractions or PVCs. Although medication has traditionally been prescribed to control PVCs, it isn’t always a successful course of treatment for all patients. The good news for these and other PVC patients is that the NCH Heart Institute now offers a minimally invasive procedure called PVC ablation that boats a 90 percent success rate in restoring normal heart rhythms in all patients – even in elderly. According to NCH Electrophysiologist Dinesh Sharma, MD, PVCs occur when the heart’s lower chamber emits an extra beat or current, which is

out of sync with the beats or currents of the pace- setting upper chambers. “While many of us have some extra beats, they are usually of no concern,” explains Dr. Sharma. “But when a patient is symptomatic with PVCs, it is abnormal, and there is usually irritable tissue in either the right or left lower heart chamber.” “In some situations, the extra beats can cause passing out, heart failure or rarely cardiac arrest,” says Dr. Sharma, “but most commonly, it leads to symptoms like lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, palpitations and skipped heartbeats.” These symptoms are most likely to worsen when these patients ingest caffeine or alcohol, or are under psychological stress, or become dehydrated. In some cases, there is no clear trigger for the occurrence of PVCs. To remedy this condition, Dr. Sharma, who was

specially trained in New York, performs a minimally invasive PVC ablation procedure, which destroys the tissue in the heart muscle that is causing the irregular contractions. Using ultrasound and mapping technology, a catheter is inserted into a vein in the groin and guided to the heart, where the cause of the PVCs is isolated and destroyed using radiofrequency energy. “We can cauterize or freeze the tissue, depending on the location, to cure the PVCs with low risk of damage to critical structures and tissue,” explains Dr. Sharma. “The procedure can take from one to four hours and has a low complication rate of less than two percent, even in older patients. PVC ablation therapy requires an overnight hospital stay, but patients may then resume normal activities. However, exercise is discouraged for one week, to allow the groin incision to heal properly.

PVC Triggers

• Fluttering • Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting • Pounding or jumping feeling • Known heart problems like heart failure, heart disease • Skipped or missed beats • Increased awareness of your heartbeat PVC Symptoms

• Stress, anxiety • Medications such as

decongestants, antihistamines • Increased adrenaline caused by caffeine, tobacco • Alcohol use • Use of Illegal drugs

Risk Factors

• Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs • Stress and anxiety

• Heart disease including congenital heart disease, coronary heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and a weakened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)

For more information, contact the NCH Heart Institute at (239) 624-4200 .

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