The fastest growing segment of cardiology, electrophysiology is a relatively new subspecialty of interventional cardiology that evaluates, treats and manages arrhythmias and other heart rate and rhythm disorders.
Electrophysiologist Andrew Lawrence, MD, of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, performs an ablation procedure in which a thin, flexible tube is inserted into the heart to deliver energy to tiny areas of the heart that cause the abnormal rhythm. The 2-hour procedure can bring a permanent end to a patient’s heart rate issues.
Although physicians have been performing EP studies and implanting EP devices for years at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, demand for these services has increased so dramatically during the last few years that the hospital renovated an existing operating room into a dedicated EP lab. The $2.3 million project was funded in part by the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation.
“Until recently, virtually all of our electrophysiology patients were forced to leave the community to seek treatment at competitor hospitals,” said David L. Crane, CEO of Adventist Midwest Health. “It has been very rewarding to see this trend reversing as we now can offer state-of-the-art technology, clinical excellence and post-procedure follow-up right here in a community hospital setting.”
The hospital recruited some of the best trained electrophysiologists in the country. Five EP specialists treat patients at the hospital, including medical director Chad Bonhomme, MD.
“With a dedicated electrophysiology lab, we can provide a superior patient experience right in our patients’ backyards,” Dr. Bonhomme said.
An EP study can determine that certain people might be prone to sudden cardiac arrest even before it occurs. These patients can be candidates for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a device that monitors the heartbeat 24 hours a day. Other devices installed at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s EP lab include pacemakers and biventricular pacemakers, which provide electrical stimulation when the heart does not beat or beats too slowly.
As a result of this procedure, Christine Bornhorst is able to relax with her daughters and doesn’t have to worry about her heart racing.
Christine Bornhorst would experience episodes of sudden dizzy spells and shortness of breath about six times a year, the worst of which lasted 40 minutes and caused her heart to beat in the range of 250 beats per minute.
Bornhorst, a critical care unit nurse at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, was thankful to be working during her last episode.
“I was in the hospital when the last episode happened, so my co-workers were able to bring me to the emergency room, thank goodness,” Bornhorst said. “What if I would have been alone in the car, stuck in traffic? That scares me.”
But those moments are in the past. Bornhorst’s heart has been beating normally, consistently, since she underwent a catheter ablation at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s electrophysiology (EP) laboratory. Today, the Bolingbrook mother is relieved.
“Finally, my heart is beating normally and I don’t have to worry about rushing to the emergency room,” said Bornhorst. “It’s hard to believe I’m finally better.”
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