Our expertise in heart rhythm disorders, combined with the latest technologies, help distinguish the Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital from other cardiac programs. Bridgeport Hospital electrophysiologists provide a full spectrum of services and treatments for patients with heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias).

Our electrophysiology services and procedures include:

  • Non-invasive tests, including 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) recorders and portable recorders to use at home
  • Tilt table tests to study fainting, dizziness and blood pressure control
  • Medication therapy for arrhythmias
  • Electrical cardioversion to restore abnormal heart rhythm to normal
  • Pacemakers to maintain normal heartbeats
  • Defibrillators to protect patients from dangerous heart rhythms
  • Device therapy for heart failure patients
  • Ablation treatments that include minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, hybrid ablation, as well as surgical ablation and mini maze (a minimally invasive surgical option)
  • Catheter-based ablation treatments for many types of abnormal heart rhythms
  • Advanced surgical techniques for ablation of atrial fibrillation

Specialized Care for Atrial Fibrillation

The Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital was first in New England to offer hybrid ablation for atrial fibrillation (a-fib), the most common heart rhythm disorder. Symptoms include chest palpitations, fatigue, dizziness and trouble breathing.

Treating A-Fib with Ablation

To treat a-fib, the physician performing the procedure creates scar tissue in specific areas of the heart to block faulty electrical signals from reaching the muscle and causing it to contract erratically. This process is known as ablation.

Traditional ablation methods include catheter ablation, minimally invasive surgery or open-heart surgery. Until now, these non-surgical and surgical approaches have been performed separately.

Hybrid ablation combines the catheter and surgical approaches to maximize the advantages of each and minimize their risks.

During hybrid ablation, the cardiac surgeon creates scar tissue from the outside surface of the heart, while an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist with expertise in electrophysiology, creates scar tissue from the inside of the heart. Working together, they perform a single, significantly less traumatic, but more thorough minimally invasive procedure. With hybrid ablation, there are only three small incisions, so patient discomfort is greatly reduced and recovery is faster.