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St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a long standing international reputation as a leading centre for research into and management of heart rhythm problems (known as arrhythmias). Currently the arrhythmia service is provided by Dr Ward and Dr Gallagher, employed by the Hospital, and Professor Camm and Dr Behr employed by St George’s, University of London, with whom the trust shares its site in Tooting. This reflects the close relationship between research and cutting edge therapies in this area.

Dr Kaba visits from St Peter’s Hospital in Surrey, bringing his patients for treatment at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. There are four arrhythmia clinics each week where the consultants and junior doctors see patients referred from the South West London area and the Surrey region, as well as national specialist referrals. There are two specialist clinics provided: the inherited cardiac conditions (ICC) clinic and the adult congenital heart disease clinic.

The treatments we provide to our patients encompass all aspects of rhythm abnormalities. These include implantation of electronic devices, such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD’s). These are designed to treat slow and rapid heart rhythm abnormalities to prevent blackouts and sudden death.

We also work very closely with the heart failure clinic provided by Dr Anderson to provide ICD’s and resynchronization treatments for the heart (CRT) that can help patients with difficult symptoms related to weakness in the heart muscle. Our ICD and pacing procedures and the follow up required are supported by extremely experienced and well run clinics managed by Mrs Sue Jones. Local clinics are provided to our referring hospitals in Surrey and beyond.

We also provide the most up-to-date technologies for the treatment of arrhythmia in the cardiac catheter lab using ablation techniques. We treat simple rhythm problems, extra pathways in the heart, irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation and complex arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia (VT). Ablation uses different forms of “energy” to destroy areas of tissue responsible for rhythm abnormalities. We use standard radio frequency ablation (a localized heating of the tissue) and cryoablation (a localized freezing of tissue). The laboratories also have the most advanced imaging systems available, which allow us to create virtual images of the heart and move inside the heart with greater accuracy and speed. We undertake our complex procedures under general anaesthetic which is readily available at our department.

Between 2008 and 2010, the number of patients being seen at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust increased by over 50% and our ablation and ICD implantation rates also increased over the same period.