Ventricular arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that originate in the bottom chambers of the heart called the ventricles. These rhythms can occur as a result of damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack or cardiomyopathy – or can occur in patients with hearts that seem structurally normal.
This multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and health care professionals from the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Ventricular Arrhythmia Center are dedicated to diagnosing and treating:
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) – premature beats originating in the lower chambers which may be bothersome to patients causing symptoms such as palpitations or shortness of breath. Over time, frequent PVCs can, in some patients, cause changes in the heart function.
- Ventricular Tachycardia – a sustained pattern of premature ventricular contractions, which can be life-threatening.
- Ventricular Fibrillation – a fast, disorganized beating of the ventricles which quickly leads to sudden death.
What We Treat
Cleveland Clinic's Ventricular Arrhythmia Center brings together specialists from cardiovascular medicine, cardiac surgery, pathology, pulmonary medicine and genetics with expertise in diagnostic testing, medical management, and interventional and surgical procedures for patients with ventricular arrhythmias.
Our team of health care professionals provides patients with a full range of treatments aimed at strategies to prevent, suppress or eliminate arrhythmias, such as:
- A full range of imaging techniques and diagnostic studies designed to diagnose ventricular arrhythmias and their underlying cause, including electrocardiogram (ECG), ambulatory monitoring, electrophysiology studies , echocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),as well as non-invasive and invasive means to assess for cardia ischemia or infarction.
- Non-cardiac specialist including pathologist and pulmonologist who help diagnose and treat conditions associated with ventricular arrhythmias.
- Medical management, including the most current medication regimens to manage the abnormal cardiac rhythms.
- Customized catheter based treatments to treat ventricular arrhythmias that are resistant to standard medications, prior ablation or device therapies. It is not uncommon for patients who have been ablated unsuccessfully at other centers to seek treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.
- Implantation of cardiac devices (ICDs) designed to detect and stop ventricular arrhythmias.
- Traditional and minimally invasive surgical ablation procedures combined with other heart surgeries to fully treat the patient’s heart condition
- Genetic screening for patients and family members of patients affected with syncope or sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias.
- Supportive counseling including psychological support and cardiac rehabilitation when needed.
- Remote device monitoring, fully integrated with the patient’s medical record for ongoing evaluation and notification of status of devices, no matter where the patient is located.
The Center’s team of physician specialists, nurses and other support staff available to perform catheter based or surgical ablation of refractory ventricular arrhythmias needing urgent treatment. The aims of this team is to provide these therapies within 24 hours of patient arrival or in a timely manner to minimize delay in treatment of markedly symptomatic and life threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
Why choose Cleveland Clinic for your care?
Our outcomes speak for themselves. Please review our facts and figures and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
Our team of electrophysiologists and ventricular arrhythmia specialists are well regarded in the United States and throughout the world. Many have been involved in creating guidelines for treatment of arrhythmias and have taken leadership roles in the Heart Rhythm Society.
When looking for a specialty center, the amount of procedures a hospital does and the success of those procedures are very important. Large volume centers have better outcomes.
Our Medical Team
- Patrick Tchou, MD - Director, Ventricular Arrhythmia Center; Former Head of the Section of Electrophysiology & Cardiac Pacing in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine from 1994 to 2006.
- Walid Saliba, MD - Director, Electrophysiology Lab and a Staff Cardiologist in the Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine.
- Oussama Wazni, MD - Staff Cardiologist in the Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine.
Staff Members, Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
Section of Electrophysiology & Pacing
Our team of electrophysiologists are highly experienced in treating patients with ventricular arrhythmias utilizing medications, catheter ablations and device therapy.
- Bryan Baranowski, MD
- Mandeep Bhargava, MD
- Thomas Callahan, IV, MD
- Daniel Cantillon, MD
- Mina Chung, MD
- Thomas Dresing, MD
- Fredrick Jaeger, Jr, DO
- Mohamed Kanj, MD
- Bruce Lindsay, MD
- David Martin, MD, MPH
- Mark Niebauer, MD
- Walid Saliba, MD
- Khaldoun Tarakji, MD, MPH
- Patrick Tchou, MD
- Niraj Varma, MD, PhD
- Oussama Wazni, MD
- Bruce Wilkoff, MD
Section of Heart Failure and Transplantation
Many patients with arrhythmias also have heart failure related to damage to the heart muscle. Our heart failure specialists evaluate and provide the best therapies for optimal treatment of heart failure.
Section of Cardiac Imaging
Imaging specialists use the latest imaging techniques, such as tissue Doppler imaging, color M-Mode Doppler, transesophageal echocardiography, MR and CT help to diagnose underlying causes for heart failure.
Section of Interventional Cardiology
Interventionalists who are part of the Ventricular Tachycardia Center have experience with treating ischemic heart disease with catheter based therapies.
Traditional and minimally-invasive surgical procedures may be needed to treat structural or coronary artery disease causes for irregular heart beats. This can be combined with surgical ablation to fully treat the patient’s heart condition.
Our younger patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy require a specialized approached by a cardiologist pediatrician.
Other specialties are often needed to assist in evaluating family members with ventricular arrhythmias or assisting with care or treatment of a condition. These medical professionals are experts in their field and have a particular specialty interest in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias.
Ventricular arrhythmias can be related to conditions such as sarcoidosis, that affect the heart muscle, making it more prone to arrhythmia.
- Daniel Culver, DO - Pulmonary Medicine (sarcoidosis consultant)
Tomsich Pathology Laboratories
Pathology is used to assist in evaluation of underlying heart disease and determine if one is more susceptible for future events.
- E. Rene Rodriguez, MD - myocardial biopsy interpretation and genetic testing
- Diane Clements, MS, LGC
- Brittany Psensky, MS, LGC
- Christina Rigelsky, MS, LGC
- Learn more about the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare
Psychiatry and Psychology
To make an appointment, please call our toll-free Cardiology Appointments number: 800.659.7822.
To insure proper testing is scheduled, let the appointment office know
1) that you are a ventricular arrhythmia patient and
2) if you are having acute symptoms.
When you make your appointment, ask the appointment secretary for the name of your physician.
When you make your appointment, ask the administrative assistant for the name of your physician and desk number. You will be told to go to Desk J2 - 4 or Desk M41, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH.
Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.
Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET):
Please contact the Center for Atrial Fibrillation at 800.223.2273, ext 49162 (or call the physician’s office directly).
At all other times call Patient Access Services locally 216.444.8302 or toll-free 800.553.5056.
What to Expect
Whether you are coming from around the corner or around the world, you want to know what to expect before, during and after your visit with us. If you have any questions while reviewing this information, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Before your appointment
If you are scheduled at least one week away, you will be asked to send in your records, including medical history, test results and films (such as echocardiogram, ultrasound, chest x-ray, MRI or CT as applicable). All information should be sent in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified U.S. mail (make sure you have a tracking number) to the physician with which you have an appointment. The address to mail your records and films is:
Ventricular Arrhythmia Center
Vascular Medicine – Desk J2 - 2
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
If you are scheduled less than one week out, please bring your records and films to your appointment.
For patients who have a ventricular arrhythmia and have already been told they need to have an ablation procedure, we do have a method to send in records for review.
Please contact the Heart & Vascular Institute Resource Nurses for instructions at 866.289.6911.
Traveling to Cleveland Clinic
When you make your appointment, we would like to make traveling to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible. Information on travel to the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.
Please Note: Parking for your appointment will vary whether you are at Taussig or the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.
During your appointment
When you arrive at Cleveland Clinic for your initial appointment, you will first meet with a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who will begin the interview process and ask you about your medical history and your arrhythmia.
Then, you will meet with a physician from the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center. The physician will explain your treatment options for your ventricular arrhythmia. Once you have agreed upon a treatment option, you may need additional tests to provide more information about your condition.
One treatment option is the use of anti-arrhythmic medication. Some medications require you to stay in the hospital when the medication is started. If your treatment plan involves one of these medications, your doctor will give you more information.
If percutaneous ablation or surgery are planned, the physician will go through the procedure and the consent process with the patient and schedule non-urgent cases on an outpatient basis. Urgent cases are usually admitted to the hospital for further management which may include an invasive procedure.
How long will you need to stay at Cleveland Clinic?
To complete all testing, you will need to stay in the Cleveland area for 1 to 3 days.
After your visit
Your doctor will tell you when you need to be seen again.
If you have an ablation, you will be seen 2 to 3 months after the procedure. At your follow-up visit, you will have testing that may include an EKG, echocardiogram, device check and/or blood work. You will meet with a member of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center nursing staff and with your physician.
Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute physicians, surgeons, and researchers continue to research into new treatments and therapies with the goal of improving patient care and outcomes into the future.