Irregular or abnormal heart beats, called arrhythmias, occur when there are abnormal electrical impulses in your heart, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. Arrhythmias are very common and are often a mere annoyance. However, they can also be responsible for life-threatening medical emergencies that result in cardiac arrest and even sudden death. The most common irregular heart rhythm is called Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) and involves the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart. Over 2 million Americans are affected by AFib and it is responsible for 15% of all strokes.
Arrhythmia treatment depends on the type and severity of the arrhythmia. Treatment options may include medications, lifestyle changes, invasive therapies, electrical devices or surgery. In some cases, no treatment will be necessary. Take this opportunity to learn more about arrhythmias, including diagnosis and treatments, and have your questions answered by Walid Saliba, MD and Oussama Wazni, MD from Cleveland Clinic and Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of StopAfib.org.
Walid Saliba, MD, is the Director of the Electrophysiology Lab and a Staff Cardiologist in the Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. He is board-certified in cardiac electrophysiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. Dr. Saliba is trained in all aspects of clinical cardiac electrophysiology and pacing, including catheter ablation of various arrhythmias, implantation of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators and extraction of implanted pacemaker and ICD leads using laser technology.
Oussama Wazni, MD, is a Staff Physician in the Cleveland Clinic Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing. He is the Director of the Outpatient Electrophysiology Department and Co-Director of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center. He is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology. He specializes in electrophysiology with special interest in atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia ablation.
The Cleveland Clinic doctors will be joined by Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of StopAfib.org and the American Foundation for Women's Health. Following a brush with death in emergency heart surgery as well as a near-stroke from a frightening irregular heartbeat in the same year, Mellanie True Hills pledged to use her second chance to help others avoid the #1 and #3 killers, heart disease and stroke. After being cured of her life-threatening irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, she also launched StopAfib.org, a non-profit patient advocacy organization to provide information, education, and support for those living with atrial fibrillation.