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Cardiovascular Medicine

MCW Electrophysiology Laboratory

Arrhythmia Service, Electrophysiology, Pacemaker and Defibrillator Laboratories

Electrophysiology Lab

The Medical College of Wisconsin Arrhythmia Service consists of eight cardiologists with special training and Board Certification in Cardiac Electrophysiology. These physicians specialize exclusively in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders including catheter ablation, pacemaker and defibrillator surgery, device lead extraction surgery and implantation of Watchman devices to reduce stroke risk in atrial fibrillation. Please see the Arrhythmia Service page for more details.

The Froedtert Electrophysiology Laboratory is specially equipped for the treatment of complex heart rhythm disorders including abnormal rhythms of the upper part of the heart such as Atrial Fibrillation (AF), Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and potentially dangerous rhythms of the lower part of the heart such as Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) and cardiac arrest.

Catheter Ablation is a technique which permits the cure of many common rhythm problems without surgery. The Electrophysiology Laboratory is specially equipped with state of the art digital fluoroscopy equipment, specialized computerized 3-Dimensional cardiac mapping equipment used to guide ablation and minimize or eliminate the use of x-ray during ablation procedures, and intravascular ultrasound permitting the visualization of structures within the heart. Our Electrophysiologists specialize in complex atrial arrhythmias associated with prior heart surgery and congenital heart disease as well and ventricular rhythms due to coronary blockages and prior heart attack using new curative techniques. These techniques, guided by computerized 3-Dimensional mapping of the heart, may improve symptoms and prolong life. Electrophysiologists at MCW performed more than 500 ablation procedures in the last year.

All pacemakers and defibrillators at Froedtert are implanted and followed by Electrophysiology specialists. This means that the physician performing the procedure has a large experience with complex device management and performs a large number of procedures. These factors are associated with a lower risk for the patient and maximize the prospects for a good long term result. Additionally, our electrophysiology team provides close follow-up for our pacemaker and defibrillator patients, optimizing the long-term care of our patients. Electrophysiologists at MCW implanted more than 450 pacemakers and defibrillators over the last year. We have extensive experience with new device technologies, including leadless pacemakers, leadless defibrillators, and HIS bundle pacing. Chronic pacemaker and defibrillator leads sometimes require replacement and our multidisciplinary team of electrophysiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional radiologists has a successful track record of safe and successful lead removal.

Froedtert electrophysiologists have expertise implanting Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure Devices. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in clinical practice and is associated with the formation of left atrial thrombus and stroke. The Watchman device which allows percutaneous occlusion of the left atrial appendage where thrombus forms is a proven approach for reducing stroke risk in atrial fibrillation patients unable to take chronic oral anticoagulation. Froedtert Hospital was first in Wisconsin to implant 50 Watchman devices.

MCW Electrophysiologists manage patients from hospitals around the state and northern Illinois, are on call 24 hours a day to manage emergencies. Froedtert's emergency department and Flight for Life helicopter access makes it possible to manage difficult problems quickly and successfully.

In addition to inpatient procedures and management, the Arrhythmia Service maintains a large outpatient practice for long-term management of patients with complex rhythm problems, pacemakers or defibrillators. Electrophysiologists are available for physician consultation as well as patient self-referral.