Devices to Treat Arrhythmias
For some forms of arrhythmia, the best treatment is an implantable device—such as a pacemaker or defibrillator—that regulates the heart's rhythm. Mount Sinai patients receive extensive education about living with the devices and make regular monitoring appointments.
Implanted pacemakers prevent the heart from beating too slowly. These tiny devices are composed of a computer, electronic circuits, and a battery (with a life up to 10 years). To implant a pacemaker, doctors make a small incision near the collarbone and thread wires into the heart through a large vein. Sensors placed throughout the heart's electrical pathway coordinate the timing of atrial and ventricular contractions.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy is used for patients who have moderate to severe heart failure and who have experienced electrical disturbances. This treatment uses a minimally-invasive procedure to implant a device called a biventricular pacemaker, which triggers the left and right ventricles to contract simultaneously and pump blood more effectively.
The pacemaker, in combination with an implanted cardiac defibrillator, keeps the heart's rhythm at the right speed. Internal monitoring sensors transmit information from the pacemaker to Mount Sinai's heart team, which then makes up-to-the-minute medication adjustments.
Because one size does not fit all when it comes to biventricular pacemakers, Mount Sinai has established a Device Optimization Clinic to make sure every patient's biventricular pacemaker is optimally calibrated for them. While many hospitals provide cardiac resynchronization therapy, our doctors go to extra lengths by fine-tuning the pacemakers so they are tailored to each patient to provide maximum benefits.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
Certain arrhythmias are so dangerous that even one occurrence could result in sudden cardiac death. The best treatment is to stop the threatening rhythm as soon as it happens. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators deliver life-saving jolts to reorganize the heart's electrical system.
These devices are implanted during a procedure that involves a small incision below the clavicle.
For patients with pacemakers and defibrillators, this type of monitoring records intermittent problems that may not be detected with 24-hour monitoring. Electrocardiographic recordings are transmitted from the device over the telephone for evaluation by a Mount Sinai Heart physician.