Ablation – the quieting of abnormal electrical signals/tissue, either with Radiofrequency or Cryotherapy.

Arrhythmia – a generic term for any abnormal heart rhythm.

Atrial fibrillation/AF the atria – the two “upper” chambers of the heart –  see their normal, organized activation replaced by a chaotic storm of electricity.  This in turn drives the “lower” chambers – the ventricles – to rapid, irregular rates.

Atrial flutter – a rapid but regular rhythm in the atria – the “upper” chambers of the heart – which in turn drives the “lower” chamber – the ventricles – to rapid rates, which may be regular or irregular.

Atrium – an “upper” chamber of the heart.  Blood returns to the heart into the two atria.  The heart’s normal rhythm starts in the Right Atrium.

AV node – the electrical structure which conducts the electrical signal from the upper chambers (atria) to the lower chambers (ventricles).

AVNRT – Atrioventricular Node Re-entry Tachycardia -a heart rhythm disorder involving the AV node creating sudden rapid heart rates and palpitations.

Biventricular pacing – a form of pacing designed to improve the strength of weakened hearts with advanced conduction disease.

Bradycardia – slow heart rate, less than 60/minute.

Bundle Branch Block – loss of conduction in one of the two main conducting pathways in the ventricles, the Right or the Left Bundle.

Catheter – generic term for any tube or wire inserted into the body.

CRT – Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy – the full name for biventricular pacing, which involves pacing to improve the strength of weakened hearts with advanced conduction disease.

Cryoablation – the use of cooling to quiet abnormal electrical tissue. 

Defibrillator – a device, external or implantable, which can apply a current to abruptly stop a dangerously fast heart rhythm

Heart Block – disease of the heart’s natural conduction system, with several levels of severity.  This includes Bundle Branch Block, Hemiblock, and Wenckebach block.  Complete Heart Block is a complete loss of conduction from the atrial to the ventricles.

ICD – Implantable Cardioverter/Defibrillator – a cardiac device inserted to provide permanent monitoring for dangerously fast heart rhythms, and which can shock the heart back into normal rhythm if necessary.

ILR – Implantable Loop Recorder – a small device placed just under the skin to provide long-term monitoring of the heart rhythm.

Loop Recorder – see ILR

Mapping – computer-assisted three-dimensional rendering of the heart with the acquisition of hundreds of electrical signals to assist the Electrophysiologist in the diagnosis and treatment of certain heart rhythm disorders.

Pacemaker – an implantable cardiac device used in the treatment of abnormal slow heart rhythms.

Radiofrequency/RF ablation – the use of energy to abolish abnormal electrical signals and tissue.  This is the form of ablation most commonly used.

Sinus rhythm – another term for normal rhythm, arising from the Sinoatrial node, in the Right Atrium.

Sudden Cardiac Death – any cardiac death which was not anticipated.

SVT – Supraventricular Tachycardia – abnormal heart rhythm involving, in whole or in part involving the atrial/upper heart chambers.  SVT is a catch-all label, with many specific diagnoses included.

Syncope – medical term for loss of consciousness.

Vasovagal – a form of fainting involving the sudden drop in blood pressure and/or heart rate due to signals from the patient’s own nervous system.

Ventricle – on of the heart’s two “lower chambers”.  The ventricles’ contractions provide the circulation to the body and lungs.

VF – Ventricular Fibrillation – a chaotically fast heart rhythm in the ventricles.  Without immediate treatment, Ventricular Fibrillation is fatal.

VT – Ventricular Tachycardia – an abnormal fast heart rhythm arising from the Ventricles, the “lower chambers” of the heart.  When Ventricular Tachycardia arises in a diseased heart, it can be life-threatening.

Tachycardia – medical term for any fast heart rate, over 100/minute.