Ventricular Arrhythmia Care

Dr. Babak Nazer and Dr. Adrienne Kovacs speaking to a patient.
Dr. Babak Nazer (left), a cardiac electrophysiologist, and Dr. Adrienne Kovacs, a psychologist, co-direct the Multidisciplinary Ventricular Arrhythmia Program.

OHSU’s Multidisciplinary Ventricular Arrhythmia Program cares for your heart — and your well-being. Our first-of-its-kind program combines expert care for ventricular arrhythmias with treatment for the anxiety, depression and related symptoms that often come with them.

This program offers you:

  • A team of specialists working together
  • The latest treatments
  • Complete care at each visit
  • One of the few psychologists in the Northwest skilled in treating heart patients
  • An approach that improves both medical outcomes and quality of life
  • An active role in your care

What are ventricular arrhythmias?

Heart Anatomy

Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. Ventricular arrhythmias come from your heart’s two lower chambers, called the ventricles.

In these arrhythmias, the ventricles beat too fast and out of sync with the heart’s upper chambers. In patients with an underlying heart disease, this can be life-threatening.

Treatments for ventricular arrhythmias

ICD: Most patients receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to protect against these dangerous heart rhythms. The device continuously monitors your heart rhythms. It responds to ventricular arrhythmias with a shock to restore normal rhythm.

Medication: Anti-arrhythmic medications can help maintain normal rhythm. This can reduce the need for ICD shocks.

Ablation: We offer the latest ablation techniques. Your doctor threads  catheters (thin tubes) through blood vessels in the groin up to the abnormal heart tissue. Your doctor then eliminates the tissue with a small electric current. At OHSU, we are also studying new ablation techniques, such as noninvasive cardiac radiation.

Surgical sympathectomy: For certain cases that have not responded to other treatments, surgery can remove two or three sets of nerves that often cause heart rhythm problems.

Clinical trials: We offer access to promising new therapies, including for arrhythmias, through clinical trials.

Our unique approach

Having an ICD can be lifesaving. But the shocks, especially repeated ones, can be stressful. That’s why our Multidisciplinary Ventricular Arrhythmia Program combines care for your heart and your mind. We also make you an active participant in care. We find that this unique approach improves outcomes and quality of life.

Your care team: At each visit, you’ll see:

  • A cardiac electrophysiologist (a doctor who treats arrhythmias)
  • One of the Northwest’s few psychologists to focus solely on heart patients
  • Providers who specialize in ICD testing
  • Other heart specialists, such as advanced heart failure cardiologists, as needed

Planning care together: Your care team will ask you to complete surveys about your psychological symptoms and quality of life. They’ll combine the results with those of your heart and ICD tests. Then you and your team will plan your next treatment steps together. These may include medication, ablation or a clinical trial.

Meet our team

The Ventricular Arrhythmia Care Team

For patients

Call 503-494-1775 to:

  • Request an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions

Location

Center for Health & Healing Building 1

3303 S. Bond Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97239

Refer a patient

"You're a person, not just a chart"

Headshot of Doyle Martin

After moving to Oregon, Doyle Martin finds responsive care — and better results — with the ventricular arrhythmia team at OHSU. Read Doyle’s story.