The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center specializes in caring for heart arrhythmias. We help thousands of patients each year protect their health and relieve their symptoms when they experience heart rhythm changes.
Our center’s heart surgeons, electrophysiologists and cardiologists are recognized across the country and the world for their continued innovation. We treat the full range of arrhythmias, with personal attention and compassionate care.
Heart Arrhythmia Care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
At the Heart & Vascular Center, our team members have dedicated their careers to diagnosing and treating heart rhythm disorders. This intensive focus means we have the expertise and experience to help you find the right solution.
At our center, you will find:
- Expert care: We are an internationally recognized arrhythmia center, known for treating all types of heart rhythm disorders, from the common to the complex. Doctors from across the country send us patients because of our expertise and excellent outcomes. We have the skills and experience to provide hope and care for the sickest patients.
- Experienced team: Our entire team is uniquely qualified to provide arrhythmia care. From cardiac anesthesiology to postoperative nursing care, every member of our team has extensive training and experience in treating patients with heart rhythm disorders.
- Leaders in the field: Many advances in arrhythmia care were developed by Washington University doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. For example, a former Washington University doctor developed the Cox-Maze procedure, a revolutionary treatment for atrial fibrillation. The doctors we partner with continue to develop less invasive and more effective techniques for this procedure. Learn more about the Cox-Maze procedure.
- Advanced technology: We stand at the forefront of arrhythmia treatment. Washington University doctors have developed and refined technology such as pacemakers, defibrillators and catheter ablations used by doctors worldwide. Our other innovations include leadless heart rhythm devices and noninvasive arrhythmia mapping, both of which improve care and make treatment less burdensome.
- Patient-centered care: At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, we take the time to listen to you and gain a deeper understanding of your concerns, your health and your preferences. This approach leads to better, more effective treatment. Our goal is to get you back doing what you love, symptom-free.
Arrhythmia Research and Clinical Trials
Our team is committed to developing the next generation of arrhythmia treatments. Our medical center is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine, meaning we have the capabilities and resources to lead the way in research and to offer the latest clinical trials.
Research and clinical trials at our center include:
- Noninvasive atrial fibrillation mapping (ECGI imaging): Before treating a heart arrhythmia with heat or cold (ablation), we need to pinpoint the problem. We normally do so with thin tubes (catheters) threaded into veins leading to the heart. But with ECGI, you simply wear a special vest with electrodes. The electrodes identify the troublesome spots by monitoring your heartbeats, a completely noninvasive process.
- Genetics: We are working with pathology and genome sequencing experts to understand the genetic makeup of families who have experienced unexplained sudden cardiac arrest. Using this genetic data, we hope to prevent sudden cardiac arrest whenever possible.
- Heart device trials: We are involved in a clinical trial to treat heart failure through pacing devices.
- Heart failure: We are investigating ways to prevent patients with heart failure from needing to repeatedly return to the hospital.
Types of Heart Arrhythmias We Treat
A rhythm disorder causes your heart to beat too fast, too slow or erratically. Your heart begins to pump less effectively.
We provide treatment for all types of arrhythmias:
- Atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is an erratic heartbeat. Learn more about our approach to treating atrial fibrillation. You can also fill out our atrial fibrillation treatment form to start planning your care.
- Tachycardia: Tachycardia is a fast heart rate that can often threaten your life. Find out about our diagnosis and treatment options for tachycardia.
- Bradycardia: Bradycardia is a slow heart rate. Learn more about our bradycardia diagnosis and treatment.
Arrhythmia Treatments at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
We offer the full range of arrhythmia treatments. The treatment process is highly individualized, based on your specific needs. We work with you to determine the most effective treatment plan. Learn more about our arrhythmia treatments.
- Medication: Medications can help relieve symptoms and reduce your risk of stroke.
- Cardioversion: A controlled electric shock to your heart can restore the normal rhythm.
- Catheter ablation: We use a thin tube called a catheter to deliver energy to your heart, where it forms scars to stop the irregular heartbeat. We perform more than 350 ablations a year, placing us among the region’s leaders. Read more about catheter ablation.
- Cox-Maze procedure: We are international experts in performing this surgical procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. Our team creates a complex map of safe and effective scars to stop the abnormal heartbeat. Find out more about the Cox-Maze procedure.
- Stroke-reducing procedures: If you have an arrhythmia, your risk for stroke increases. To lower that danger, we offer a full range of effective stroke-reducing procedures.
- Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs): These devices are implanted under your skin and help regulate your heart rate. Patients from across the country travel to us for our expertise in pacemaker implantation. Our team was one of the first in the country to implant ICDs in patients at risk of cardiac arrest. Learn more about pacemaker and ICD implants.
Our Heart Rhythm Team
- Cares for more than 1,200 inpatients and 4,000 outpatients each year
- Has completed more than 1,500 ablation treatments for supraventricular tachycardia, relieving the arrhythmia in 95 to 99 percent of patients
- Performs complex ablations to treat atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in patients sent to us from across the Midwest
- Implants 800 pacemakers and ICDs annually
To make an appointment with a Washington University arrhythmia specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.