The Heart's Electrical System

Deborah Electrophysiology

The heart’s electrical system is an elegant organization of circuitry.

Electrical impulses prompt the heart to squeeze, pushing blood through the body down to the tiniest capillary. Some physicists have calculated the power the heart produces at between one and two watts, creating two to three billion joules of work over a lifetime.

Misfiring signals in the heart’s electrical system can cause the heart to go offbeat, what’s called an arrhythmia. Many people are unaware of their ticker changing tempo. But in others, a heart beating irregularly can cause weakness, dizziness, feeling light-headed, fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure. It raises the risk of other problems ranging from intestinal upset to even enhanced dementia.

Short-circuits in your home require the services of an electrician; in your heart, the electrophysiologist makes the repairs. This cardiologist maps out the precise circuitry of a patient’s heart and uses delicate catheter-based techniques to correct wayward signals.

KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with electrophysiologist Dr. Raffaele Corbisiero about his team’s work at Deborah and about diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation.