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Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders Overview

The human heart beats approximately 100,000 times a day—about 35 million times a year. Each heartbeat begins with an electrical impulse within the heart's own electrical network, called the conduction system. The electrical impulse of the conduction system starts in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, and travels down to the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart, to produce a heartbeat. 

Heart rhythms disorders (also called arrhythmias or dysrhythmias) are problems with the conduction system that result in irregular heartbeats that are too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), and/or irregular (extra or skipped beats). Heart rhythm disorders range from harmless to life-threatening.

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At Northwestern Memorial’s Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, we take a team approach to treating patients with heart rhythm disorders. Electrophysiologist and medical director Bradley P. Knight, MD leads the multidisciplinary team of heart rhythm specialists (including electrophysiologists, surgeons, nurses and more) that work closely with our patient’s referring physicians. Together with our patients, we determine the best plan of care.

Treatment options for heart rhythm disorders

Our Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders offers a variety of treatment options for heart rhythm disorders, including medications, medical procedures, surgery—or some combination of the three. These can include:

Heart rhythm disorders and clinical research

Patients treated at the Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders also benefit from clinical research trials that are ongoing at Northwestern Memorial. The focus of our clinical research trails is to understand the factors that make patients prone to heart rhythm disorders. We are also working to develop new, less-invasive means of treatment.

Emotional and Behavioral Health

Cardiac treatment is most successful when it focuses on the physical, emotional and behavioral health of the patient. Northwestern's Cardiac Behavioral Medicine service was created with the understanding that the mind and body (the heart, in particular) influence each other.

Gail M. Osterman, PhD, and Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern page, send an email or call 312-926-4000.

Last UpdateNovember 4, 2013