On October 22, 2015, Easton Hospital broke ground on an expansion to create a new hybrid electrophysiology (EP) lab for procedures and surgery to treat the electrical systems of the heart. Patients who are experiencing heart rhythm disorders, otherwise known as irregular heartbeats, will be diagnosed and treated in the EP Lab when it is complete next year.
According to the American Heart Association, arrhythmia patients can be at risk for stroke and sudden cardiac arrest. Each year, more than 420,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest occur in the United States. When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the heart’s electrical system has malfunctioned and blood stops flowing to the brain, heart and the rest of the body. The victim is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone helps immediately.
EP physicians who specialize in heart rhythm disorders will offer comprehensive EP studies to diagnose patients who have malignant and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. They will offer ablation treatment, a procedure that maps the heart to determine where the electric signals are irregular to eliminate rhythm abnormalities in patients. The electrophysiologists will also implant cardiac devices, such as biventricular pacemakers and defibrillators to treat heart failure, left atrial appendage closure devices for patients with atrial fibrillation, and perform complex lead extraction.
The EP lab will be hybrid, a term used to describe a space with capabilities to perform a range of procedures, from complex to minimally invasive, all within the same room. So, if patients receiving a complex cardiac treatment were to require surgery, they would be able to remain in the lab, eliminating the need to move patients.
“In our 125th year, we must focus on the legacy we create,” says CEO John Zidansek. “This new space will allow our doctors and specialists to bring needed care to our community.”
Each year the number of EP procedures performed at the hospital has grown. This year the number of patients increased by a third over the prior year.
“Advanced cases will remain here under our watchful skill and care,” says Dr. Koroush Khalighi, cardiologist and electrophysiologist, an instrumental physician who has championed this project and been treating EP patients for years at the hospital.
Easton Hospital was recently recognized for its cardiac care. Easton Hospital received a Blue Distinction Center designation from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Easton Hospital also received two awards of the highest honor for heart attack prevention and treatment. One of those placed Easton Hospital in an elite category as one of only 55 hospitals in the country to earn the Heart Attack Receiving Center from American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
“The EP Lab will be built alongside our catheterization lab, expanding the resources we have to treat heart patients’ health needs right here in our community,” says Chris Biege, VP of Quality, who will oversee this project.
Construction will begin this week, and the EP lab is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2016.
This project is one of many undertaken during the hospital’s 125th anniversary year, with more than $15 million in capital investments. Earlier this year, Easton Hospital opened its Behavioral Health Unit and enhanced cancer care services with upgraded oncology equipment.
“Easton Hospital continues to grow while still remaining connected to our neighbors as a community hospital,” says Zidansek.