Will I Have to Replace My Pacemaker?

November 10, 2021

Pacemaker implanted in the chest will last about 10 to 15 years according to Electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini

For those with a slow heart rhythm or bradycardia, a pacemaker may be exactly what’s needed to restore a more normal life and lifestyle. Pacemakers allow the heart to function more normally to reduce the risks associated with cardiac arrhythmias. Before delving into whether a pacemaker will eventually need to be replaced, we must understand exactly what it is. Traditional pacemakers use leads in the heart to deliver an electrical signal to start a heartbeat. The signal is generated from a battery or pulse generator, usually implanted under the skin. New, leadless pacemakers including the Micra device are implanted into the heart itself and represent a smaller, less invasive option. In all cases, the pacemaker uses the battery pack to detect an irregular heartbeat and correct it with electrical impulses.

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What to Do if Your AFib Medications Are Bringing You Down

October 27, 2021

Medication for AFib can cause undesired side effects leading some patients to opt for procedures for treatment according to Dr. Andrea Tordini

When atrial fibrillation / Afib or other arrythmias are first diagnosed, patients are often nervous about the potential treatment options. It is helpful to know that as electrophysiologists, we are always looking for the least invasive, easiest way to normalize the heart rhythm. What we do know is that many lifestyle choices including diet, smoking and substance use, can affect the heart’s rhythm. Rectifying these lifestyle issues can often improve or eliminate arrhythmia issues. However, there are times where this does not work, and we must try antiarrhythmic or anticoagulant medication to reduce symptoms and help prevent stroke. These medications work in about 50% of patients who experience significant relief and can continue with their normal lives. However, for the other 50%, for whom medications cause unacceptable side effects or simply do not help, life can be somewhat harder.

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Help! My Doctor Says My EKG Is Normal, but My Heart Is Still Pounding!

October 20, 2021

Please note that if you are experiencing any out of the ordinary cardiovascular issues, dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

EKG may not diagnose all heart rhythm issues and other diagnostic test with an Electrophysiologist may be helpful

It happens more often than you may think. Patients feel their heart beating out of their chest or their heart skipping a beat and immediately call their doctor or head to the ER thinking that they may be having a heart attack. Once they’ve been cleared, they may be told that everything is fine, or they may have had a panic attack. However, this fast heartbeat irregular heartbeat continues, and the patient does not get the satisfaction of an appropriate diagnosis.

No, your medical team is not to blame. Rather, diagnosing an arrhythmia in an unspecialized medical setting is challenging. But why is that?

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Covid-19 and Your Heart Rhythm

October 13, 2021

Electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini discusses COVID-19 and abdominal heart rhythms and answers questions about the affects of COVID-19 infections and COVID-19 vaccination on the heart.

Despite being more than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I am frequently asked about the effects of COVID on the heart, and rightly so. While our understand has grown exponentially this past year, we still know relatively little about Covid and how it affects the heart. However, what we do know is that those with heart problems are at greater risk of complications due to the disease. The heart is a finely tuned muscle and Covid has been shown to affect the heart in several ways including inflammation in and around the heart, inflammation of blood vessels and damage due to stress and strain, amongst other things. Some patients have come to me with new or worsened irregular heart rhythms soon after having had Covid. While we are still unsure if this is caused by Covid or simply a coincidence, there is reason to be cautious.

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Cannabis Products May Double the Risk of Heart Attack in Young Adults

October 6, 2021

An increase risk of heart attack in young adults with cannabis use is explained by Electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini

New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has shown that young adults who consume cannabis products have a significantly higher likelihood of heart attack when compared to those that abstain from the drug. For some background, cannabis containing products are those that contain the compound THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana.

This was a retrospective study that looked at the outcomes of 30,000 18- to 44-year-olds who had consumed a cannabis product within the past month. The researchers studied how many of these patients went on to have a heart attack. Approximately 1.3% of cannabis users later had a heart attack versus .8% of non-cannabis users.

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The Most Dangerous Cardiac Arrhythmia

September 22, 2021

When we think of dangerous heart related issues, arrhythmias don’t often make the list. Everybody jumps straight to heart attack – and rightly so. However, arrhythmias represent an insidious issue that is often overlooked. For many patients, avoiding activities that may induce an arrhythmia or simply living with the arrhythmia is preferable to seeing a doctor and “risking a bad diagnosis.” However, this is not the way to approach arrhythmias as most arrythmias can be managed without major intervention. While some arrhythmias are relatively benign and can be managed with low dose medication or even lifestyle change, there are others that can cause significant injury or even death.

Florida Electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini evaluates the heart rhythm of a patient with a cardiac arrhythmia

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Will I Need a Second Ablation?

September 8, 2021

One of the great advances in cardiac rhythm management has been the invention and subsequent popularity of cardiac catheter ablation and a similar procedure known as cardiac cryoablation. Both procedures work in similar fashion, using different modalities to destroy improperly functioning heart tissue sending air and electrical signals through the heart. In both cases, the procedures have helped us avoid significant open-heart surgeries and have reduced the risk of stroke in hundreds of thousands of patients the world over.

Catheters placed in the chest for a second cardiac ablation procedure for cardiac arrhythmia

However, as with any procedure, the success rate is not 100%. In fact, a cardiac catheter ablation, while very effective, may not offer the desired benefit in about a quarter of patients. However, the exceptionally safe nature of ablation allows for the procedure to be performed again.

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The Difference Between AFib and a Heart Attack and Why They Feel So Similar

August 18, 2021

Many times, patients who experience a particularly bad episode of atrial fibrillation or AFib end up in the emergency room thinking they had a heart attack. After significant testing, they may find out, to their surprise, that they have AFib instead.

Man clutches his chest as he wonders if his symptoms are a heart attack, but these symptoms could be Afib according to electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini.

And while AFib and a heart attack share some symptoms, they are very different conditions with very different treatments and outcomes. Of course, it is extremely important to be aware of your heart health and if you’re experiencing any unusual chest pains to call 911 or visit the emergency room immediately.

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Five Heart Healthy Habits

August 4, 2021

Healthy older couple jogs together as they prioritize exercise for heart health as recommended by electrophysiologist Dr. Andrea Tordini.

Many patients coming to our office with chest discomfort, the feeling of a racing heart, feeling that their heart is pounding out of their chest, and more are experiencing atrial fibrillation or AFib. AFib has several potential causes, some of which cannot be modified, like age, genetics, or congenital issues. Other underlying causes of AFib can be modified and these include lifestyle change. In fact, evidence is pointing to a lack of a healthy lifestyle as a leading factor for the development of AFib.

If lifestyle issues are part of the problem, then improving one’s habits is certainly part of the solution. Even if improving your heart health does not eliminate AFib, it certainly sets the stage for longer-term heart health, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life or minimize the effects of existing cardiovascular problems. Further, generally good heart health can make any heart procedure, including our minimally invasive arrhythmia treatments, more successful and safer.

Below, we discuss five heart healthy habits that you can begin today to improve your heart health tomorrow and beyond.

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Will My Cardiac Catheter Ablation be Painful?

July 21, 2021

When you read about a cardiac catheter ablation including the fact that heart tissue is destroyed using heat, you might be concerned that it would be very painful. Further, traditional interventions for heart rhythm issues just 20 or 30 years ago required invasive surgery and long recovery times. But have things changed? The answer is most definitely yes.

Medical illustration of the human heart shows inside of ventricles and where a cardiac catheter ablation takes place.

Why would you need a cardiac catheter ablation?

If you’ve been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or AFib you have probably experienced an episode ranging from mild to debilitating. You may have even believed you were having a heart attack and, as such, ended up in the emergency room. Regardless, feeling that pressure in your chest, feeling your heart race and feeling the pounding of a very fast heart is scary for anyone. A cardiac catheter ablation is a curative solution for many abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias, most especially AFib, a condition that affects upwards of 5 million Americans.

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