Symptoms and diagnosis

Lifelong care

Heart rhythm disorders may require lifelong care. Our team will help you manage symptoms of your condition and any side effects of treatment. 

Symptoms of heart rhythm disorders include:

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Fluttering sensation in your chest

  • Heart palpitations (skipped beats)

  • Lightheadedness or passing out

  • Shortness of breath

Seek emergency care if your symptoms are severe or combined with chest pain.

Treatments and research

Advanced treatment options

Your heart’s contractions — its heartbeats — pump blood to the rest of your body.

The heartbeat is controlled by your heart’s electrical system. If your heart’s electrical system quits working, your heartbeat can become irregular. An irregular heartbeat is called a heart arrhythmia or heart rhythm disorder. Atrial fibrillation is one type of heart rhythm disorder.

At UW Health, we offer the most advanced treatments for heart rhythm disorders.


Some heart rhythm disorders are more severe than others. Mild cases may require only medication, lifestyle modification or monitoring. If your heart rhythm disorder is more severe, you may benefit from additional treatment or procedures.

During cardiac ablation, doctors create small scars in the heart to keep abnormal electrical signals from interrupting your heart’s normal rhythm. We offer several types of cardiac ablation techniques, including cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation.

Cardioversion may be used to treat atrial fibrillation. During cardioversion, doctors use medication or electrodes to deliver an electric shock to the heart. This shock returns the heart to a normal rhythm. Medications or other procedures may be necessary to help the heart stay in normal rhythm after the cardioversion.

If you have atrial fibrillation, you are at higher risk for blood clots and stroke. We offer the Watchman left atrial appendage closure procedure as an option to reduce stroke risk. During the Watchman procedure, surgeons implant the Watchman device to close the left atrial appendage. This reduces your risk of stroke without the need for blood thinning medications.

Pacemakers are implanted under the skin just below the collarbone and may be used as part of your treatment plan. These devices are programmed to stimulate the heart if it begins beating too slow. 

Understanding heart rhythm disorders

At UW Health, our team works to grow our understanding of heart rhythm disorders. We work to identify the causes of arrhythmias and develop better treatments.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin Cellular and Molecular Arrhythmia Research Program

Meet our team

Expert care for your whole family

UW Health treats the most complex heart rhythm disorders. 

Working together — and with your input — our team will design a treatment plan that’s best for you.

We specialize in care for inherited heart rhythm disorders. These are disorders passed down through family generations. Inherited arrhythmias include Long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome.

At UW Health, you have access to:

  • Adult and pediatric cardiologists

  • Cardiothoracic surgeons

  • Electrophysiologists

  • Genetic counselors

  • Advanced practice nurses

Meet our team

Innovative Treatments

Learn more


Convenient access

For your convenience, we offer cardiovascular medicine, electrophysiology and preventive cardiology clinics at multiple Madison locations. We also have cardiovascular outreach clinics in Beaver Dam, Fort Atkinson, La Farge, Mauston, Portage, Prairie du Sac and Reedsburg.

Top-ranked heart hospital

Patient and support services


Online resources

The following resources are available to help you.