Kids who are experiencing heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) need precise, accurate diagnoses as soon as possible. At Atrium Health Levine Children’s, we use state-of-the-art electrophysiology techniques to pinpoint the cause of your child’s arrhythmia – and, in most cases, to fix it.

Electrophysiology is a branch of medicine where doctors investigate heart arrhythmias by studying the heart’s electrical pulses. Electrophysiology procedures can also be used to correct abnormal electrical pulses that cause heartbeat abnormalities.

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To learn more about pediatric electrophysiology at Levine Children’s, contact us at 704-373-1813.

Electrophysiology studies and treatments

Electrophysiology studies

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is the most commonly ordered medical test and is often the first step in evaluating your child’s heart.

If an arrhythmia is discovered, an electrophysiology study is often the next step in evaluating your child’s heart rhythm. For this test, our doctors insert a catheter – a long, thin tube equipped with electrodes to measure electricity – into a vein in the neck and groin. Then we guide the catheter into the heart to record electrical signals. This helps us understand each child’s heart rhythm and how it functions. Our team can also do more detailed evaluations like:

  • Implantable loop recordings: A standard electrophysiology study may not collect enough data to help us understand complex conditions. In that case, we can use a minimally invasive procedure to install tiny devices to monitor the heart. These devices take implantable loop recordings that record heart activity for months or even years, giving us vital information that we need to diagnose and treat your child.
  • Metabolic stress testing: We use these tests to closely monitor your child’s heart while they exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. This shows us how the heart and lungs work under stress and helps us understand if symptoms like shortness of breath are a result of illness or poor physical fitness.
  • Speckle-tracking echocardiography: This gives doctors additional information about how the heart’s ventricles function. We’re the only pediatric team in our region that offers this advanced tool.

Electrophysiology treatments

Once we determine your child’s condition, we can use electrophysiology tools to perform minimally invasive procedures and surgeries. Our team can also install tiny devices that regulate the heart’s rhythm. Electrophysiology treatments include:

  • Ablations: During these procedures, doctors use specialized tools to eliminate microscopic areas of the heart that make it beat rapidly or irregularly. We’ve performed hundreds of ablations for minor and complex conditions, including in adults who have had surgery for congenital heart issues. We make these procedures even more effective by using tools like:

    • 3D electroanatomic mapping: Allowing us to map out abnormal heart beats in high-resolution 3D, so we can see what’s causing arrhythmias in extreme detail and create a treatment plan to fix it.
    • HD Grid: Providing highly detailed information about the direction and speed of electricity in the heart so that we can target the best site for treatment.
    • Special ablation catheters: Helping us use the exact amount of force we need to fix arrhythmias. This lets us eliminate the defect without damaging healthy tissue.

  • Pacemakers: Our team can insert pacemakers that keep your child’s heart in a steady rhythm. We’ve placed these devices in hundreds of children.

  • Defibrillator: Some heart conditions can cause your child’s heart to beat extremely fast. If your child is at risk for developing this rhythm problem, our team can install a device called a defibrillator. This will detect when your child’s heart beats extremely fast and send a small electric shock to return it to a normal rhythm.

Supportive services

A heart condition affects every part of your child’s life. That’s why we offer resources to support kids and their families, including:

  • Camp LUCK. This free summer camp is for kids with heart conditions and their siblings. Camp LUCK helps children build a community with other kids who are having similar experiences.

  • The HEARTest Yard.This is a program that provides in-home nursing support for children and families as they transition home from the hospital. It’s funded by the Greg Olsen Foundation and was launched after the former Carolina Panthers football player and his wife, Kara, had a baby with a severe heart defect.

  • Cardiac neurodevelopmental program. Sometimes heart conditions can affect a child’s brain development and lead to things like learning delays. Our brain development experts will help your child overcome any challenges that come up as they grow.

  • Child life specialists. These specialists help children and their families with things like getting ready for medical procedures. They can also help your child’s teachers and classmates understand their illness.

  • Nurse navigators. These nurses support and build close relationships with each patient and family. They become experts in each child’s condition and medical history, teach parents at-home care, attend appointments to answer questions and discuss treatments, and more.

  • Nutritionists. Our nutritionists make sure kids have a balanced diet and are getting the nutrients they need to stay strong.

  • Social workers. They help families cope by connecting them with things like counseling, support groups and financial assistance.

  • Pastoral care. Our chaplains offer religious and spiritual support when families request a visit.

Why choose Levine Children's?

At Levine Children’s, we often use electrophysiology to help patients with genetic heart conditions, cardiomyopathies, congenital heart disease, adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) and more. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Deep expertise. Our doctors have spent decades helping children overcome even the most complex heart conditions. Many of our doctors completed extra years of specialized training to help kids like yours. We also work in close partnership with Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute - home to world-renowned heart care specialists.

  • Advanced technology. We use the latest electrophysiology tools to evaluate and treat your child’s heart issue. For example, our doctors often create high-resolution 3D maps of your child’s heart to examine it in precise detail before making a diagnosis.

  • Low doses of radiation. Many imaging procedures expose kids to radiation, which can increase their risk of future health issues. Our team has gone to great lengths to keep this exposure to a minimum, and our radiation levels are now among the lowest of any electrophysiology lab in the nation.

Brad and Dr Bryant

New technology helps patients avoid radiology, surgery and medication

Atrium Health Levine Children’s houses the first lab in the region that uses a highly precise electrophysiology tool called “the Grid.” Learn how the Grid can cure problems like arrhythmias in less time and with fewer side effects.

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The HEARTest Yard Congenital Heart Center

1001 Blythe Blvd, Suite 500
Charlotte, NC 28203

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