Q & A with Dr. Christopher Stees: Abnormal Heart Rhythm
What is AFib?
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that increases your risk of stroke. The symptoms include an irregular pulse, shortness of breath and fatigue. If you have these symptoms, please consult with your medical provider. Video
What sets the Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute apart?
What separates the Rocky Mountain Heart Institute at Rose versus other places where you can get your care is our team approach. We have exceptionally skilled physicians, we have exceptionally skilled lab staff and we have an all-encompassing care from when you enter the door and when you leave. From the preoperative nursing area to the nursing care we receive well as an inpatient as well as discharged. Video
What is an EKG?
An EKG is an electrical screening test performed at both your primary care physician’s office as well as in the emergency department. It is a good screening tool; it paints a nice picture of your heart and gives us some idea of what's going on in your heart previously as well as what's currently going on in your heart. You can choose to perform it as screening tool—a general portion of your screening test with your primary care physician— and more specifically when they're having symptoms. That could be palpitations such as racing of the heart, chest discomfort or shortness of breath. Video
What is the Rocky Mountain Heart Institute at Rose?
The Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythms Institute at Rose is an all-encompassing program that involves all facets of care. It transcends just the physicians and, most importantly, involves our trained lab staff, our preoperative and post-operative areas. It also encompasses the emergency room. It starts at the time of admission and ends at the time of discharge. Video
Treatments for AFib
The treatment strategies are variable for atrial fibrillation. Most importantly, we want to make certain someone is protected from the risk of stroke. We want to identify those patients. In addition to that, we will control the heart rate in atrial fibrillation with medications. if this fails will bring them to a thing called catheter ablation where we map out the short circuits inside the heart and cauterize them. Video
Treatments for abnormal heart rhythms
The treatments for a slow heart rhythm are very limited actually. The majority of times, a pacemaker would be indicated. The treatment for faster rhythm is varied. That can be medications or catheter ablation where we go up inside your heart, map out a short circuit and cauterize that short circuit. Video
About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm we deal with. It's a very complex multifaceted disease process. There's not one single entity that causes atrial fibrillation, but usually a conglamoration of multiple comorbidities that are disease processes that cause the end organ disease process. Video
Warning Signs of Abnormal Heart Rhythm
The majority of the warning signs of abnormal heart rhythms are palpitations, racing of the heart, if you're having a fast heart rhythm. If you are having a slow heart rhythm, that can be fatigue, shortness of breath, feeling light-headed or passing out. Video
Who is at risk for abnormal heart rhythm?
People at risk for abnormal heart rhythms really can be of any age. I see people as young as 16 years of age and up into their 90's. More commonly, that faster heart rhythms occur in a younger age and slow heart rhythms occur in advanced age. But really can be in either direction. Video
What are abnormal heart rhythms?
Abnormal heart rhythms is really an all-encompassing term. It can be either fast heart rhythms-- the most common one would be atrial fibrillation. It can be also slow heart rhythms. Video
What is catheter ablation?
Catheter ablation is a surgery for treating abnormal heart rhythms. It can be as complex as brain surgery or as simple as toe surgery. We treat all abnormal heart rhythms. Essentially what we do is map out a short circuit inside your heart, cauterize that short circuit and that should be curative for your abnormal heart rhythm. Video
Symptoms of AFib
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm that we deal with. as electrophysiologists. The symptoms of this can be racing of the heart, it can be shortness of breath, light-headedness or passing out. Video
What is ablation?
An EP (electrophysiology) study and ablation are used synonymously. We place catheters in the vein that drain from your leg up into your heart. We map the circuits -- any short circuits-- inside your heart and we cauterize those together. Video
What to expect?
What you can expect the day of your ablation is arriving at the hospital approximately two hours before your procedural time. At this time, you will be checked in, brought to the preoperative area. After that, you will be brought to the electrophysiology laboratory. The procedural time is varied depending on the complexity of the ablation and the procedure performed. They can be short as 90 minutes and as long as four to six hours. Afterward, you will be in post-operative holding areas at which time you can visit with your family and be discharged home, depending on the complexity of the ablation. Video
The Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose Team
The Rocky Mountain Heart Institute at Rose is an all-encompassing approach to care regarding heart rhythm disorders. It involves the emergency department and involves the primary care physicians and involves our trained lab staff as well as myself, Dr. Tom Svinorich as well as our general cardiologists Drs. Vijay Subbarrao and Bridget Beck. Video
About Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose
As the medical director for the Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose, it has been my pleasure to help coordinate the care and bring a team approach to treating abnormal heart rhythms. This was not previously present. The Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute brings the community an evidence- based skills approach to the treatment of abnormal heart rhythm disorders. Video
The Team Approach
The team approach here at Rose is all-encompassing it's just not the care you receive from physicians while you're getting your catheter ablation. More importantly, it's the team approach from the skilled lab staff and our nurse practitioners to our pre-admission post admission areas as well as the skilled nursing staff who are very educated and well trained on how to treat heart rhythm disorders. Video