What is the Sentara RMH Arrhythmia Center?
The Arrhythmia Center is part of the award winning Sentara RMH Heart and Vascular Center. Led by cardiac electrophysiologist Robert A. VerNooy, MD FACC, the Arrhythmia Center team provides both diagnosis and treatment for all heart rhythm related disorders. The team does simple and complex ablations, implants, and management of all cardiac devices.
What is a Heart Arrhythmia?
Heart arrhythmia is a term used to describe any heart rhythm problem. When heart rhythm issues occur frequently or are impacting how you live your life, you may have an arrhythmia that needs to be treated or corrected.
How Many Types of Arrhythmias Are There?
There are many different types of rhythm disorders, some of the most common being:
- Atrial fibrillation: an irregular, and often rapid, heart beat that can cause a variety of symptoms and increase one’s risk for a blood clot leading to a stroke.
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT): a problem in the heart’s electrical system that causes episodes of a rapid heart rate, often triggered by exercise or caffeine.
- Ventricular tachycardia: a fast rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart, the ventricles.
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW): a condition where the heart has an extra electrical pathway, leading to episodes of a very fast heartbeat.
- Bradycardia: a slower than normal heart rate that can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, or fainting.
- Premature beats: manifest as premature atrial or ventricular contractions (PACs or PVCs).
- Other less common types of congenital heart conditions that can led to arrhythmias include: Congenital Long QT syndrome, Brugada Syndrome, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia
How Are Heart Arrhythmias Diagnosed?
We use the latest technologies to diagnose the many different types of heart arrhythmias.
- Holter or Event Monitors: a small, temporary wearable device that records your heart rhythm over a period of time, such as one day.
- Electrophysiology (EP) Study: Using a catheter inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or neck and moved up into the heart, an electrophysiologist studies your heart’s electrical system. He or she can purposely cause the abnormal heart rhythm in order to diagnose the problem.
- Implantable Loop Recorder: a small device placed underneath the skin that helps determine the cause of fainting. It can be used for up to several years.
How Are Arrhythmias Treated?
In some cases, medication may help. In other cases, a minimally invasive procedure may be necessary.
involves placing a catheter (a long, thin flexible wire with monitoring electrodes on the tip) inside of a blood vessel (usually in the groin or neck) until it reaches the heart. The doctor can then use heat or cold technology to ablate, or destroy, the abnormal electrical pathways.
Sentara RMH has the latest state-of-the-art imaging including a 3D mapping system, intracardiac ultrasound, Cardiac CT/3D segmentation of the cardiac chamber of interest for planning ablations, and the full complement of ablation tools including radiofrequency and open-irrigated catheters, and cryocatheter or cryoballoon ablation technology.
The Sentara RMH Arrhythmia Center includes a few other important heart rhythm services as well:
- The cardiac device support group, “The Beat Goes On”, for device patients and their families.
- The cardiac device clinic, is an outpatient clinic led by Dr. VerNooy and other implanting cardiologists. It offers long-term follow up and management of cardiac devices including routine and urgent in-clinic device checks. The clinic also performs device-based follow up of other related heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.
Contacting the Team or Scheduling an Appointment
- Healthcare professionals: Dr. VerNooy and the other physicians affiliated with the Sentara RMH Arrhythmia Center can be contacted by calling Sentara RMH Healthsource at 855-564-7200.
- Patients may be seen at Harrisonburg Medical Associates by calling 800-296-0559 or 540-434-0559. All Electrophysiology inpatient care and procedures are performed in the Sentara RMH Heart and Vascular Center.
We welcome any patients with known or suspected heart rhythm symptoms or conditions as self-referral or second opinion, and all direct referrals from other health care providers. Patients should verify with their insurance plans whether a referral is preferred or required from their primary care provider.