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Treatment of Arrhythmias
Friday, September 8, 2017 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Walid Saliba, MD

  • Director of the Electrophysiology Lab

Oussama Wazni, MD

  • Director of the Outpatient Electrophysiology Department

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 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. Please join us to have your arrhythmia questions answered by Director of the Electrophysiology Lab, Walid Saliba, MD, and Director of the Outpatient Electrophysiology Department, Oussama Wazni, MD.

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. Devices, such as a permanent pacemaker, are used to send small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a normal heart rate; most pacemakers are used to prevent the heart from beating too slowly.

The atria (the heart’s upper chambers) and ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers) work together, alternately contracting and relaxing to pump blood through the heart. The electrical system of the heart is the power source that makes this possible. Here’s what happens during a normal heartbeat:

Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in normal, healthy hearts. Arrhythmias can also be caused by certain substances or medications, such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, inhaled aerosols, diet pills, and cough and cold remedies. Emotional states such as shock, fright or stress can also cause irregular heart rhythms.

Arrhythmias that are recurrent or related to an underlying heart condition are more concerning and should always be evaluated by a doctor.

Walid Saliba, MD, is Director of the Electrophysiology Lab, Associate Section Head of the Pacing and Electrophysiology Section, Co-Director of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center, Medical Director of the Center for Atrial Fibrillation, 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 complex arrhythmias, implantation of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, placement of left atrial occlusion devices and extraction of implanted pacemaker- and ICD leads using laser technology. His specialty interests include Atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, abnormal heart rhythms, supraventricular tachycardia, epicardial ablation, biventricular pacemaker, catheter ablation, lead extraction, implantable cardioverter defibrillator, pacemaker implant, atrial fibrillation ablation, and left atrial appendage occlusion.

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. Dr. Wazni is principal investigator in several ongoing research studies related to atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia ablation, anticoagulation management in patients undergoing ablation for chronic atrial fibrillation, and use of low molecular heparin for bridging in patients undergoing implantation of mechanical valves.


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