Electrophysiology experts at the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Arrhythmia Care are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of the entire spectrum of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias).
Our team of electrophysiologists (physicians who specialize in heart rhythm problems) are focused on delivering individualized care that offers a comprehensive management plan for your arrhythmia and any underlying condition(s) that may be intensifying or causing the heart rhythm disorder.
What is a Normal Heartbeat?
The heart has an electrical system that regulates all four chambers of the heart to maintain a constant rhythm. In a healthy heart, a heartbeat is considered normal when the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart work in tandem, alternatively contracting and relaxing to move blood through the heart and out to the rest of the body. Typically, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats a minute.
Understanding the Symptoms & Causes of Heart Rhythm Disorders
Heart rhythm disorders can vary greatly in severity. Some patients will not have any noticeable signs or symptoms. However, even an arrhythmia that does not produce obvious symptoms could still lead to serious complications and require medical attention. Common symptoms include:
- A fluttering in your chest
- A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
- A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
If you have one or more risk factors for arrhythmia and/or are experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above, please consult with your physician.
There are several things that can lead to an arrhythmia, which can include lifestyle choices or pre-existing heart conditions. Common causes include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Excessive drinking
- Drug abuse
It is important that you tell your doctor if you have any of the above risk factors. Understanding your complete health history will enable us to create the best treatment plan for your unique condition.
Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Arrhythmia Care
Our arrhythmia specialists are committed to improving the lives of our patients through ongoing innovation and discovery in order to provide the most complete heart rhythm care possible.
At the University of Chicago Medicine, we welcome high-risk patients and complex cases, including those turned away from other institutions. Our dedication to being at the forefront of innovation inspires us to advance the science of clinical medicine, including combining new research, therapies and techniques to find a novel solution for these patients. We are constantly challenging ourselves to discover new ways to manage conditions that cannot be successfully treated with standard options.
With access to the latest technological advancements, our arrhythmia care team can deliver personalized treatment designed to improve success and safety. Using innovative heart rhythm mapping systems allows us to pinpoint arrhythmia locations for highly precise, targeted treatment. Additionally, having the latest implantable device technology, such as the leadless pacemakers and subcutaneous defibrillators, enables us to select the ideal device for each patient.
Along with offering the leading-edge technology, our facilities are also of the highest caliber. We work out of three state-of-the-art procedural suites that were specifically designed for maximum safety and efficiency. These suites are in close proximity to both the cardiac catheterization suite and the cardiac operating rooms, allowing us to easily perform complex procedures.
Robotic Surgery for Arrhythmia
Our surgeons are pioneers in minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and regularly perform less invasive treatments for atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, heart valve conditions and other heart problems. Some of the minimally invasive procedures regularly performed by UChicago Medicine heart surgeons including surgery to correct atrial fibrillation, a common type of arrhythmia.
Hybrid operating rooms unite the surgical suite and the cardiac catheterization lab, enabling surgeons and interventional cardiologists to perform multiple procedures in one setting.
At the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Arrhythmia Care, we work with each patient to deliver high-quality, personalized care, whether you are seeking a first opinion for your condition or turning to us as a last resort. Through our multidisciplinary approach to care, we combine the best minds in heart rhythm medicine to ensure each patient receives a comprehensive treatment strategy that complements their diagnosis and lifestyle.
To manage complex cases, our arrhythmia experts collaborate with cardiovascular intensivists, cardiac surgeons and heart failure specialists to find novel ways to treat complicated conditions. For example, to treat patients who have not experienced symptom relief after using standard therapies offered in the community, we partner with our robotic heart surgeon to perform hybrid procedures, combining the best of surgical and interventional cardiology and offering our patients a truly innovative solution. Additionally, our electrophysiologists are collaborating with heart failure experts to provide advanced, concierge-level ventricular care to patients with congestive heart failure and ventricular dysfunction.
The Center for Arrhythmia Care has a strong commitment to basic, clinical and translational research. Our goal is to discover new methods for preventing arrhythmias and improving patient care. Our nationally recognized, National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded physician-scientists are developing new technologies to better understand atrial fibrillation and create novel treatments for better outcomes and quality of life for our patients.
Heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) occur when a patient's heartbeat is abnormal or irregular, meaning that it can beat too slowly, too quickly or skip a beat. Experts at the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Arrhythmia Care specialize in managing care for the full spectrum of heart rhythm conditions. Our physicians are working to convert basic research into bedside care for our patients through clinical trials. Clinical trials allow us to offer patients access to the latest, most advanced treatment options, even before they are widely available.
Pediatric Heart Care
The pediatric cardiology team at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital brings patients the latest in heart research and treatments while delivering personalized, compassionate care to each family. We excel at treating pediatric heart disease, including arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, heart failure and more.
Find an Arrhythmia Location Near You
Chicago, IL 60637 1-888-824-0200
The Importance of Doctor-Patient Relationship
Erin Drain was born with a hidden variant of Wolff Parkinson White, an extra electrical pathway in the heart, and when she needed medical care for her worsening arrhythmia, she choice UChicago Medicine's Roderick Tung, MD, to do her ablation — a minimally invasive procedure to correct an arrhythmia.Read more about Erin's journey.
Hybrid Cardiac Ablation Stabilizes Man's Heart Rhythm
Shawn Carter's heart was beating out of control. And he had run out of options. "There were no doctors left in California who would touch me," Carter said, recalling the time last summer when his heart went into numerous bouts of ventricular tachycardia (VT).Read more about Shawn's story
Robotic Surgery Resets Heart Rhythm
Becky Elliott was just 35 when she was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation ("AFib"), an abnormal heart rhythm caused by erratic electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart. After limited success with different treatments, she received robotic surgery for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.Learn more about Becky's recovery
Catheter Ablation Restored His Heart Beat
Robert West struggled with atrial fibrillation (AFib) for five years. After a pacemaker and high doses of medication failed to help, his cardiologist told him he’d have to live with the symptoms.