Treating an Irregular Heartbeat
Jun 1, 2013
Many people experience occasional irregular
heartbeats or palpitations—the sensation that the heart skips a beat,
flutters or stops and starts again.
However, when an irregular heartbeat happens frequently, or is
accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath,
light-headedness or fainting, evaluation by an electrical specialist of
the heart, called a cardiac electrophysiologist, may be required.
University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) offers comprehensive services
to diagnose and coordinate treatment for arrhythmias, which are caused
by misfires in the electrical impulses that control the heart.
“Heart palpitations may be harmless, but they can be very worrisome
for patients,” says Eran S. Zacks, MD , (pictured right), a cardiac
electrophysiologist on staff at UMCPP, who is board certified in
cardiovascular disease, clinical cardiac electrophysiology and internal
medicine. “We use the latest technologies to determine which
palpitations are benign and which may require treatment.”
Arrythmias are diagnosed with state-of-the-art technology including:
Cardiac stress tests: A continuous electrocardiogram (EKG) monitors electrical activity in the heart during exercise.
- Echocardiogram: A painless ultrasound of the heart helps determine whether a structural defect is causing an arrhythmia.
- Personal arrhythmia monitoring devices:
Patients are fitted with devices that record electrical signals for up
to several weeks at a time, including devices that transmit real-time
results using wireless phone technology.
Treatment may involve medication or procedures including implantation
of a pacemaker or cardiac defibrillator, or a cardiac catheterization
procedure known as cardiac ablation, says Dr. Zacks.
For assistance finding a physician affiliated with Princeton
HealthCare System, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496) or visit
Princeton HealthCare System Community Education & Outreach also
offers a bimonthly support group for people with implanted cardiac
devices. For more information or to register, please call