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UCSF Cardiology
Transforming medicine through innovation and collaboration.
Department of Medicine

Electrophysiology and Arrhythmias

UCSF's Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Service is known worldwide for its pioneering work in the field. The first ablation in humans was performed at UCSF in 1981 by Dr. Melvin Scheinman. Since then, many other procedures for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) have been developed or advanced at UCSF.

We have a reputation for excellence in the evaluation and treatment of patients with a variety of cardiac arrhythmias. An experienced team of nine full-time academic cardiac electrophysiologists, as well as expert nurses and technicians, are devoted to the care of patients with abnormal heart rhythms. We perform over 400 catheter ablation procedures and 900 total procedures annually, including implantation of permanent pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and biventricular pacemakers and defibrillators. This high volume ensures efficiency and expertise in the treatment of arrhythmias.

Over the past two decades, tremendous advances have been made in understanding the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias. Doctors from UCSF have always been at the forefront in the assessment of the heart's electrical functions, studying arrhythmias under controlled conditions with electrophysiology (EP) studies. We design and participate in many clinical trials with the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical and device companies to discover better treatments. This is an advantage for patients, since many of the new investigative therapies, devices and medications may be more effective for treatment than the traditional ones. Today, UCSF's Electrophysiology team successfully "cures" 95% to 98% of patients with supraventricular tachycardia (arrhythmias originating in the upper chambers of the heart), and over 75% of patients with ventricular tachycardia (arrhythmias originating in the lower chambers of the heart).

We are constantly pioneering new technology and treatments through research, but our primary goal is to provide specialized and personalized care for our patients. We have developed this web site for you and your physician to become familiarized with our Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Service. If you have further questions or need more information, please contact us at (415) 476-5706. For physicians seeking to refer patients, see For Referring Physicians.