Cardioversion is a procedure used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia.
Under general anaesthetic, a cardioversion is performed by a Cardiologist using a defibrillator machine giving the patient a small electrical 'shock', to return the heart to a normal rhythm.
A coronary angiogram may be ordered if a patient has experienced chest pain, injury to the chest, a heart attack or a Cardiologist suspects coronary disease.
A coronary angiogram is an x-ray of the heart’s arteries used to check for narrowing or blockages. During this procedure, under local anaesthetic, a Cardiologist will insert a catheter into the artery at the groin or wrist. This tube is then threaded inside the artery to the heart. An x-ray dye is injected into the catheter and examined as it flows through the coronary arteries.
Electrophysiology Studies (EPS)
Electrophysiology studies (EPS) is a test performed by a Cardiologist to examine a patient’s abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. Using electrical pulses, a doctor can identify where an abnormal heartbeat is coming from and determine an appropriate method of treatment.
Much like a coronary angiogram, under local anaesthetic, a specialised catheter (long thin tube) is inserted into the artery at the groin and threaded to the heart. The Cardiologist will send small electrical pulses to the patient’s heart through the catheter. The electrical activity of the heart is recorded and examined to determine the cause of the arrhythmia.
Insertion of permanent pacemakers
A pacemaker is a device that produces small electrical currents to stimulate a patient’s heart beat and encourage the heart to pump normally. Permanent pacemakers are used to control long term heart rhythm problems that may cause a too slow or too fast heartbeat.
During surgery, a Cardiologist will make an incision near the collarbone to prepare for insertion of the pacemaker wires, battery and pulse generator. A wire is inserted into a large vein under the collarbone and using x-ray to monitor its location, is threaded to the heart’s chamber. The pacemaker is programmed, attached to the wire connected to the heart, and inserted into a pocket created in the skin before closing the incision.
Percutaneous coronary intervention
Percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as coronary angioplasty, is a medical procedure used to treat the narrowing of coronary arteries or coronary heart disease. This technique can improve blood flow to the patient’s heart.
During a percutaneous coronary intervention, a catheter is inserted at the groin or arm and guided to the heart. A dye is then injected to assist the Cardiologist with locating the narrowed artery. A second catheter with a balloon attached is inserted into the artery. The balloon is inflated and deflated to widen the artery. Sometimes a stent (an expandable metal tube) is inserted into the artery to ensure it remains expanded.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart, allowing the Cardiologist to examine heart function. The images produced from this test are useful in helping a doctor to examine concerns such as changes in heart size, heart pumping strength, valve function, damage to the heart muscles, and to diagnose heart disease.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is performed by passing the probe down the throat, and can produce more detailed images than a chest echocardiogram. The patient’s throat is numbed and a flexible telescope guided down the oesophagus. The sound waves or echoes recorded by the equipment is converted to images that the Cardiologist can review on an ultrasound monitor.