HELPING HEARTS

by Dr. Vijay Swarup and Dr. Akash Makkar

Heart arrhythmias and irregular heartbeats affect millions of Americans, and these can lead to many health risks including heart failure, stroke and sudden death.

“The medical field of heart rhythm specialists is the most rapidly-growing field because of the new technologies, which allow effective and often curative treatments of heart arrhythmias,” said Vijay Swarup, M.D., FHRS, founding partner at Arizona Heart Rhythm Center.

Unlike clogs and blockages often associated with heart problems, electrical impulses are what the doctors at Arizona Heart Rhythm Center (AZHRC) specialize in fixing and fine-tuning. These electric impulses can affect heart rhythms, often causing low blood pressure and can lead to a stroke or even cardiac arrest and sudden death.

“Think of your heart as a house. If there is a clog, you call the plumber. If there is a problem with the electrical, you call an electrician; and we are the electricians of the heart.” said Akash Makkar, M.D., FHRS, partner at Arizona Hearth Rhythm Center.

AZHRC is based in Phoenix with its primary location at 1848 E. Thomas Road, Suite 100. AZHRC also serves patients at other locations throughout the greater Phoenix area with clinics in Peoria, Goodyear and Gilbert.

AZHRC recently opened an office in Prescottm and is seeing patients at 3108 Clearwater Drive in the Crossings.

Several of the arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, cause blood to stagnate in small chambers of the heart forming blood clots, which force many patients to stay on blood thinners to avoid strokes.

“The connection between strokes and heart arrhythmia is well-established.” Dr. Makkar said. “Using blood thinners often leads to problems with internal bleeding, which can sometimes be life-threatening.”

Dr. Swarup and his team at AZHRC were the pioneers in development and testing of a heart plug, which was recently approved by the FDA for preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. This plug seals off the appendage to the heart where most stroke-causing blood clots come from. This plug is called the WATCHMAN device and is now manufactured by Boston Scientific Inc.,a large biomedical company. AZHRC has the largest experience in successfully implanting this device in the U.S.

AZHRC provides a vast array of services and surgeries to meet the heart rhythm needs of patients, including:

  • Evaluation of heart and heart rhythms with various heart monitors.
  • Tilt Table testing
  • Ultrasound evaluation of the heart
  • Stress testing
  • Electrophysiology study
  • Cardiac ablation for all arrhythmias
  • Pacemaker implants with 24/7 remote monitoring
  • Defibrillator implants with 24/7 remote monitoring
  • WATCHMAN device implant
  • Pulmonary artery pressure sensor implants for heart failure (CardioMEMS)
  • Newer heart failure device treatments, including research protocols

For more information, Arizona Heart Rhythm Center has a comprehensive website at www.azheartrhythm.com