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Electrophysiology Reduces Heart Transplants

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Just a few years ago, intractable arrhythmias — difficult-to-treat heart rhythms — required a heart transplant. Now, many can be corrected in the electrophysiology laboratory at Children's.

The electrophysiology service diagnoses and treats irregular heart rhythms in Children's state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory.

"When a child's heart beats too fast," says Dr. Jack Salerno, Children's electrophysiologist, "we can use radiofrequency ablation to cauterize a small area of tissue that prevents the irregular heartbeat from recurring."

Slow heart rhythms can be corrected with an implantable pacemaker. Heart rhythms that can cause sudden death are treated with an implantable defibrillator, which shocks the heart into beating normally.

Children's was the first to establish a pediatric electrophysiology program in the Pacific Northwest.

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