I was fortunate that I was given an
opportunity to start up a program here in 1985 that focuses on heart rhythm problems. The electrophysiology program here, when it first started, was just me. But I was fortunate in that we got some of our trainees interested in the field, and we were able to attract really high quality people, and now the group is the biggest in the world in pediatric electrophysiology, and it’s a big part of the department of cardiology right now. I’m Ed Walsh, I’m the Chief of the Cardiac Arrhythmia division here at Boston Children’s Hospital. Take a big breath. Attaboy. First and foremost, we take care of young people who have heart disease, and arrhythmias are a big part of that. The thing I like most about electrophysiology is that rhythm problems are puzzles. You can never really look at a rhythm, you always look at manifestations of a rhythm either on an electrocardiogram, or when you have catheters in the heart, or some other means. And part of figuring that out is figuring out how to treat it and regulate it so that it’s back to normal rhythm. When I first started in the field, there wasn’t a whole lot that we could do physically to correct the rhythm other than to use medications, but the things that we can do now with catheters, the more sophisticated pacemaker and defibrillator devices, and better medications, we’ve come a long way, but the first step is still figuring out the puzzle. Where you want to do the ablation is right in that area there which is probably an old surgical scar in this young man. The program that’s here is not just pediatric, it’s also adult. And that population is a tribute to the results of surgery early in life, that these people are living to adulthood, they didn’t before. And now, they’re living normal lives, going to college, raising families, and we follow these diseases throughout people’s lives. Boston Children’s has long been a referral center for tough cases in all aspects of cardiology, and that goes with electrophysiology as well. We see things that a lot of other people never will lay eyes on. But that excitement of being on the cutting edge is what makes us get up in the morning.