Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Jeremy Swartzberg

Jeremy Swartzberg, MD

Hospital Medicine

Welcome to My Doctor Online, a web site that my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. I hope you find its content informative and useful.

My Offices

Oakland Medical Center
Appt/Advice: 510-752-1190

See all office information »

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We use a procedure called catheter ablation to correct these heart problems:

  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) 
  • Supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia (fast or racing heartbeat) 

With a catheter ablation procedure, we can often cure or significantly reduce how often these conditions occur.

Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) is a common heart condition. It can:

  • Be ongoing (chronic), or cause severe symptoms at times.
  • Lead to stroke or heart failure if left untreated. 

Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fainting

Supraventricular tachycardia is caused by an abnormal nerve signal in the heart’s upper chambers (atria). 

Ventricular tachycardia starts in the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles). It can occur after a heart attack, or in people with other heart problems. Using stimulants, such as cocaine or too many caffeinated drinks, can also cause this condition.

If you have either type of tachycardia only once in a while, it's probably not dangerous. However, you may need treatment if you: 

  • Often have rapid heartbeat episodes. 
  • Have tachycardia along with chest pain, trouble breathing, or fainting.

During the ablation procedure, we:

  • Insert thin, flexible tubes (catheters) into blood vessels in the groin (or neck).
  • Guide the catheters to the heart using X-ray imaging. 
  • Use radiofrequency electrical current to disable (ablate) heart cells that cause the abnormal heart rhythm.

Your quality of life will probably improve after catheter ablation. Many people say they have more energy as well as relief from symptoms.

Before Your Procedure

You should not eat anything after midnight the evening before or the day of your procedure. Also, we may instruct you to stop taking heart medications.

Your procedure will take place in an electrophysiology laboratory. You will:

  • Lie on a table under an X-ray tube.
  • Be cleansed (and possibly shaved) in your upper leg and groin area.
  • Be given local anesthetic to numb your groin area. 
  • Receive sedative medication through an intravenous line (IV). You’ll remain awake but very relaxed.

How It Is Done

The first part of the procedure is called an electrophysiology study

We insert catheters into blood vessels at the top of your leg. Then we thread the catheters up to your heart, using X-ray imaging for guidance. Thin wires in the catheters sense the electrical activity of your heart and map your heart's conduction system. 

The electrophysiology study finds the precise heart muscle cells that send abnormal electrical signals that cause irregular heartbeat. 

Once these "culprit" cells are identified, we deliver a dose of radiofrequency energy or liquid nitrogen through the catheter. This little burst of heat or cold: 

  • Destroys the cells. 
  • Turns off (ablates) the electrical signal that caused atrial fibrillation or tachycardia. 

Most ablation procedures take about 90 minutes. The ablation procedure is painless. You may briefly feel mild discomfort. You stay in a recovery area for a few hours afterward.


Risks and complications from catheter ablation are rare. They can include:

  • Bleeding at the catheter incision site
  • Heart muscle or heart nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Fluid around the heart
  • Leg nerve injury
  • Blood vessels damage in the groin, requiring surgery
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Very rarely, the procedure causes death.

After Your Procedure

You will stay in a recovery area until you are well enough to go home without risking serious complications.

Have someone drive you home from the hospital. We may instruct you not to drive for a few days after your procedure. We may modify your current heart medication prescription. 

As you recover at home, wait for your catheter incision(s) to heal completely before resuming exercise or other strenuous activities. You may have small bumps or bruises at the incision sites. 

You should be able to return to work within a few days.

Call us or call 911 immediately if you have:

  • Pain or swelling at your incision sites
  • Bleeding at your incision sites
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

Your Care with Me

If you are having symptoms that concern you, your first contact will typically be with your personal physician, who will evaluate your health and symptoms.

If specialty care is needed, your personal physician will facilitate the process of scheduling an appointment in my department. If appropriate, she or he might call me or one of my colleagues while you are in the office so we can all discuss your care together. If we decide you need an appointment with me after that discussion, we can often schedule it the same day or soon thereafter.

During your office visit, we will discuss your medical and family history and I will perform a physical exam. I will explain the findings of your exam and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We will discuss treatment options, and together we will create a treatment plan that is right for you.

If you need to talk with me after your visit or procedure, please call my office. You can also e-mail me with nonurgent issues from this website whenever it is convenient for you.

If you have urgent concerns or issues while my office is closed, or need general medical advice, you can call the Appointment and Advice line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be connected with a nurse who can give you immediate advice.

For general medical advice, our Appointment and Advice line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have more immediate concerns or issues while my office is closed, you can call the Appointment and Advice line. You will be connected with a nurse who can give you immediate advice.

Coordinating Your Care

Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting your care easier for you.

Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your care to stay connected on your health status and collaborate with each other as appropriate.

When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your condition, care is safer and more effective.

If you come to an office visit
  • At the beginning of your visit, you will receive information about when you are due for your next test, screening, or immunization. We can discuss and schedule any preventive tests that you need. 
  • At the end of your visit, you may receive a document called the “After Visit Summary” that will summarize the issues we discussed during your visit. You can refer to it if you forget what we discussed, or if you just want to recheck your vital signs and weight. You can also view it online under Past Visits.
  • To help you prepare for your visit, please see additional details under Office Visit. 
If I prescribe medications

We will work together to monitor and assess how your medications are working and make adjustments over time. Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you, and I will send the prescription electronically in advance of your arrival at the pharmacy.

If refills are needed in the future, you can:

  • Order them online or by phone. Order future refills from my home page or by phone using the pharmacy refill number on your prescription label.
  • Have them delivered to you by mail at no extra cost. Or you can pick up your medications at the pharmacy. If no refills remain when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me regarding your prescription.
If lab testing or imaging is needed

For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures, we will schedule an appointment with the Radiology department. When the results are ready, I will contact you with your results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.

If I refer you to another specialty colleague

If we decide together that your condition would also benefit from the care of other types of specialists, our staff will help arrange the appointment(s) with one or more of my specialty colleagues.

If Surgery or a Procedure Is a Treatment Option

I will recommend that you review educational information and tools to help you prepare for your procedure or surgery. The information will often help you decide whether surgery is right for you. If you decide to have a surgery or procedure, the information will provide details about how to prepare and what to expect.

If we proceed with surgery, I will have my Surgery Scheduler contact you to determine a surgery date and provide you with additional instructions regarding your procedure. Once your surgery is scheduled, a medical colleague of mine will contact you to conduct a preoperative medical evaluation that will assure that you are properly prepared for your surgery.

If you are considering surgery or a procedure or want more information about your heart problem, please review our health tool called “Preparing for Your Procedure” (Emmi). Emmi programs are available for the following cardiology topics:

  • Anesthesia for an Adult
  • Angiogram with Possible Angioplasty
  • Atrial Fibrillation Overview
  • Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Cardiac Catheter Ablation (SVT)
  • Cardiac Catheter Ablation (VT)
  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
  • Defib (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator)
  • Defib (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator)
  • Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement
  • Taking Warfarin (Coumadin®)

Convenient Resources for You

As your specialist, I have a goal to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.

My Doctor Online is available at any time that is most convenient for you. From my home page you can:

Manage your care securely
  • View and compose secure e-mail messages.
  • Manage your prescriptions.
  • View your past visits and test results.
  • View your preventive services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.
Learn more about your condition
  • Read about causes, symptoms, treatments, and procedures.
  • Find interactive health tools, videos, and podcasts to help you manage your condition.
  • View programs to help you decide on or prepare for a surgery or procedure.
Stay healthy
  • Locate health education classes and support groups offered at every medical center.
  • Explore interactive programs, videos, and podcasts that focus on helping you stay healthy.
  • View your Preventive Services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.

Related Health Tools:

Prepare for Your Procedure

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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