Heart and Vascular Health

Specialists in Arrhythmia Care

Ascension Seton’s Heart and Vascular services include an Arrhythmia Center for patients with heart rhythm conditions in Central Texas.

Heart Rhythm Services in Central Texas

Your doctor checks your heartbeat. When an irregular heart is detected, it may be harmless but can also be a sign of more severe heart disease.  The Arrhythmia Program led by board-certified cardiologists and electrophysiologists provides diagnostic heart tests to detect atrial fibrillation (Afib) and other heart rhythm disorders at six locations: Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, Ascension Seton Medical Center Williamson, Ascension Seton Medical Center Hays, Seton Heart Institute at James Casey, and our cardiology offices in Cedar Park, Burnet, Texas.

Primary care plays a vital role in disease prevention and overall wellness. Seton Heart Institute provides heart care when your heart beats too fast, too slow or at irregular intervals. Heart palpitations and heart murmurs are other names that describe heart rhythm disorders.


Our hearts are designed to beat at regular intervals and pump blood throughout our bodies. Heart arrhythmias can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Blocked or clogged heart arteries
  • Diseases such as diabetes
  • Medication use
  • Overactive thyroid glands
  • Smoking and drug abuse

Genetics (family history of heart disease) and lifestyle choice can both contribute to a cardiac arrhythmia To lower the odds of developing an irregular heartbeat, our care team provides personalized heart care that is right for you. We listen to understand your health concerns, and together help you make lifestyle changes to help prevent other heart conditions. High blood pressure, diabetes, and artery disease can all increase your risk of developing arrhythmias.

Diagnostic Testing Heart Rhythm Disorders

Many arrhythmias have few or no symptoms but have been known to cause lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Afib is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and advanced heart failure and other heart conditions. At Seton Heart Institutes, we have MRI compatible technology to safely take cardiac imaging studies if you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator.

Atrial Arrhythmia occurs when the heartbeat is irregular and often rapid. The blood flow is affected, and there is an imbalance of the electrical impulses that drive the heartbeat. The impulses that regulate the upper chambers of the heart become out of sync with those that direct the lower chambers. Atrial fibrillation(Afib) is when arrhythmia occurs in the heart’s top two chambers (atria). Ventricular fibrillation is when arrhythmia takes place in the heart’s lower two chambers (ventricles).

Bradycardia is a slow heartbeat that does not reach above 60 beats per minute in adults.

Palpitations can occur when the patient is abnormally aware of his or her irregular heartbeat. Palpitations can be both a symptom of arrhythmia and a separate specific medical condition.

Tachycardia involves a heartbeat that is too fast, above 100 beats per minute for adults. Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is when this fast heart rate starts in the top chambers of the heart.

Treating all Types of Cardiac Arrhythmias

Our specialists manage and treat the following heart rhythm disorders:

  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib)
  • Pulmonary vein isolation with radiofrequency ablation for symptomatic PAF
  • Class I indication for treatment of PAF after failed one anti-arrhythmic drug
  • Class IIa indication if persistent symptomatic AF or PAF without a trial of anti-arrhythmic drugs
  • Alternative therapies for stroke prevention for patients with AF
  • LA occluder device therapy or WATCHMAN device for Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
  • Class I indication for catheter ablation as definitive treatment for AVNRT, Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome, typical counterclockwise atrial flutter, and atrial tachycardia

Depending on your type of arrhythmia, our doctors provide care options that target the source of the arrhythmia:

  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Medication therapy
  • Electrophysiology ablation and cardioversion procedures
  • Implanted devices (pacemaker, cardioverter defibrillator, or WATCHMAN device) to regulate your heart rhythm.

Patients with congestive heart failure and an ejection fraction less than 35 percent are at increased risk of life-threatening irregular heartbeats and are candidates for referral to specialized electrophysiology. Many times a patient will qualify for an implantable defibrillator designed to recognize and treat a severe arrhythmia in a matter of seconds.

Ablation: A catheter is inserted into the area of the heart that is causing the abnormal rhythm. The tube delivers energy that blocks the electric signal and stops the irregularity.

Cardioversion: Electric stimulation is applied to the chest to restore your heart to its normal rhythm.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD): Similar to a pacemaker, this device also detects when irregular heartbeats occur to correct the rhythm. The ICD is an emergency, life-saving device.

Pacemakers: A small device implanted into the heart. It senses your slower-than-normal heartbeat and sends a mild electrical impulse to correct the irregular rhythm. Usually, pacemakers support long-term care and management of arrhythmias.

Surgery: Surgical procedures are used to address arrhythmias caused by heart valve disease, structural heart problems, and other cardiovascular diseases.

WATCHMAN® device: When A-fib increases your risk of stroke, the WATCHMAN™ device permanently seals off the left atrial appendage in the heart. This section of the heart that is where nearly all stroke-causing blood clots start in those with A-fib. The FDA-approved device helps prevent blood clots from forming in the left atrial area and from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.

At Seton Heart Institute, our experienced electrophysiology team of cardiologists, advanced practitioners, nurses, and technicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac rhythm abnormalities.

Device Clinic with Remote Monitoring

Patients undergoing implantation of an ICD (defibrillator) or a pacemaker at Seton Heart Institute have access to enhanced treatment monitoring and support through our specialized Device Clinic. With four locations throughout Central Texas, patients have convenient access to a dedicated team, meaning more timely appointments and better patient follow-up.

Our team takes special care to educate each patient on their condition and treatment, resulting in improved compliance with therapy and better outcomes. Regular device checks are performed by the care team every three to six months to make adjustments and optimize your care plan. We provide remote monitoring for many devices to monitor your heartbeat and vitals. You’ll have fewer in-office appointments, but consistent communication with your care team. We support a co-managed approach to patient care by providing regular feedback to your cardiologist. The care team coordinates follow-up care with the heart failure specialists at Ascension Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center as needed.

Aftercare: What to Expect

Managing Afib and other conditions depend on your care plan.

If you’re taking medication to regulate your heartbeat, for them to be effective, do not miss taking the correct dose at the right time of the day. Some arrhythmia medicines can have side effects. Communicate with your heart doctor to make sure you’re getting the proper dosing and are responding well to your treatment.

If you had an ICD, pacemaker or WATCHMAN device implanted, you, your doctor will give you specific post-op care information, including getting enough rest. You will receive thorough instructions about your device and any precautions. Regular check-ups with your doctor are essential to maintain your device and make adjustments as needed.

Consult with your doctor if you are concerned about your irregular heartbeat and how you are feeling. Seton Heart Institute is proud to provide our cardiac patients highly specialized treatment for their heart rhythm disorders. Our Arrhythmia Program goal is to provide excellent patient care through education, expertise, and innovation.

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