An interview with
James Reiss, MD Cardiac Rhythm Specialist,
Cascade Heart, PS
If your heart skipped a beat or fluttered in your chest when you were young, you might have called it love. Later in life, you might call it trouble.
Irregular heartbeats can be a sign that your heart's electrical system is not working the way it should. Clark County has a select group of local cardiologists who specialize in electrophysiology, which is the study and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.
One of the most exciting advances in the treatment of arrhythmias is technology that offers a permanent solution for many people living with an irregular heartbeat. It involves using a combination of ablation therapy and 3-D imaging to literally zap the problem pathway. The technology and physician expertise come together at PeaceHealth Southwest’s new Heart & Vascular Center in the Firstenburg Tower.
In the past, doctors relied solely on the patient’s EKG (electrocardiogram) to monitor the electrical activity of the heart. It’s an accurate but time consuming method of tracking irregular heart beats. In contrast, 3D mapping is faster and provides a level of detail greater than traditional EKG mapping. Doctors still use the EKG because it tells us a lot about what’s going on with the whole heart. It remains a valuable tool and we use it to cross check with our 3D images to get the most accurate results.
With the 3-D images to guide them, doctors send radiofrequency energy through a catheter to ablate, or destroy, the problem pathway. It’s a quick, minimally-invasive procedure with life-changing results for the patient. No more worrying about medication management and unpleasant side effects—just a healthy heart that can finally keep the beat on its own.
Watch a 3 minute video on ablation therapy
See our TV spot on ablation therapy (30 sec.)
Published February 2008.