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Electrical Disturbances in the Heart

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. Such arrhythmias make it beat irregularly and can cause weakness, dizziness, feeling light-headed, fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain, and in the case of atrial fibrillation, raises the risk of other problems ranging from intestinal upset to enhanced dementia to the serious consequence of stroke.

In the most dire case, called Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the heart can stop completely and cause death within minutes.  As SCA can affect people of all ages – including young children – it’s important to identify risk factors as early as possible.

Short-circuits in your home require the services of an electrician; in your heart, the electrophysiologist makes the repairs. Deborah offers these services, including those of a pediatric electrophysiologist.

KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Cara Garofalo, about Sudden Cardiac Arrest in children and teens.