Heart Rhythm Program

Experts at the Heart Rhythm Program at the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center use state-of-the-art technologies to diagnose, treat, and prevent problems affecting the rhythm of the heart, including irregular heart beats, slow and rapid heart beats also known as arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. The Heart Rhythm Program has an established arrhythmia ablation program in which complex atrial and ventricular curative treatments are available to eliminate the cause of both symptomatic and serious, life-threatening irregular heart beats. Our experienced heart rhythm specialists have performed hundreds of arrhythmia procedures with excellent outcomes.

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats don’t function properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.

Diagnoses of arrhythmias can be made non-invasively by a regular ECG, 24-hour ECG or an event recorder which monitors the heart rhythm during an arrhythmia. In some cases an implantable event recorder is helpful to make the right diagnosis.

Sudden Cardiac Death is a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function and occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions. In more than half of the cases, sudden cardiac death occurs without prior symptoms. However, there are known risk factors, such as previous cardiac events, a weakened heart muscle and family history.

Electrophysiology Lab

At the heart of the Heart Rhythm Program is UConn’s 825 square-foot electrophysiology lab that is equipped with today’s most advanced imaging, monitoring and lighting equipment. This is where experts perform diagnostic studies as well as procedures including implanting devices and cardiac ablation.

Diagnostic Excellence: The Electrophysiology Study

During the electrophysiology study, special electrode-catheters are used together with pacing and recording techniques to accurately pinpoint the source of arrhythmias within the heart. The special catheters provide computerized virtual maps of the electrical system of the heart. Doctors then identify the exact site of any electrical problems by testing electrical impulses and recommend treatment options.

The UConn Difference

The Heart Rhythm Program is part of a university hospital, where researchers, professors, and physicians work together to offer patients world-class care.

Advanced Treatments

Drug treatment is often the first option for treating arrhythmias, but several other advanced treatment options are available for patients who do not respond well or do not tolerate drugs.

Pacemakers are inserted into the patient’s heart and upper chest to provide a reliable heartbeat when the patient’s own rhythm is too fast, too slow, or irregular. UConn is one of the first hospitals in the Northeast to use a new technology which allows doctors to see inside the heart and blood vessels to facilitate implantation of biventricular pacemakers.

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator is a small device that is inserted into a patient’s heart and chest that monitors heart rhythm and delivers a shock if dangerous rhythms are detected.

Cardiac Ablation is a treatment which involves cauterizing tissue in the area of the heart that is causing irregular rhythms, often using radiofrequencies. This procedure completely cures heart rhythm problems in about 95 percent of cases, restoring normal heart function and eliminating the need for open heart surgery or long term drug therapies.

Our Physicians and Staff

Christopher Pickett, M.D.
Co-Director

Heiko Schmitt, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director

Scott Harrison, P.A.-C.

Kerry Cipriani, A.P.R.N.-B.C.