PVCs, or premature ventricular contractions, are a common type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can occur even in people who do not have heart disease. Treatment is not always necessary, but the contractions can sometimes cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and general fatigue, and they can also gradually weaken the heart muscle. Left unchecked, this weakening can potentially lead to heart failure, but it may be reversible with treatment that suppresses the PVCs.
At FMC Cardiology — Electrophysiology, Paul Z. Gerczuk, M.D. is a cardiac electrophysiologist who is highly skilled and experienced in using advanced, minimally invasive catheter ablation techniques to treat patients with various types of arrhythmias, including PVCs. When developing a treatment plan, Dr. Gerczuk’s primary goals are to alleviate debilitating symptoms, minimize the risks associated with PVCs, and help a patient return to optimum health.
When performing an ablation procedure to suppress PVCs, Dr. Gerczuk will cauterize a small area of heart tissue so that it can no longer generate electrical signals that lead to an irregular heartbeat. To accomplish this, Dr. Gerczuk will typically:
- Use a sophisticated, real-time X-ray imaging system (fluoroscopy) to guide a catheter with an electrode tip to a precise location within the heart where cells are transmitting stray electrical impulses that are causing PVCs
- Transmit radiofrequency energy from the catheter tip to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area
Additionally, some patients benefit from lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and tobacco, which are common triggers of PVCs. Certain medications, including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and anti-arrhythmic drugs, can also be used to address severe symptoms. Dr. Gerczuk works closely with each patient to determine the best approach to treatment.
Dr. Gerczuk is committed to continually refining his practice and seeking out new treatment approaches for PVCs and other arrhythmias. This helps to ensure that his patients can benefit from the most current techniques and technologies, including those that are not yet widely available elsewhere.
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