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State-of-the art heart procedure lab opens

Hinsdale, IL – In order to accommodate a growing number of patients seeking these highly specialized heart procedures, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital has opened its first dedicated electrophysiology (EP) laboratory. 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.

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 hospital officials drafted a plan to renovate an existing 900-square foot cardiovascular operating room as 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 and interim CEO of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. “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.”

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital is home to the fastest growing EP program in the Chicago area. Volume increased a whopping 1,056 percent between 2006 and 2007 and officials project an additional 125 percent increase from 2007 to 2008. Approximately 15 to 20 EP procedures are currently performed every week.

Within the past 18 months, hospital officials helped the local cardiology groups to recruit some of the best trained electrophysiologists in the country.  Five EPs treat patients at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, including medical director Dr. Chad Bonhomme, who joined the team in late 2006.

“With a dedicated electrophysiology lab, our medical staff will be able to provide a superior patient experience right in our patients’ backyards,” Bonhomme said.

Electrophysiology deals with the heart’s “electrical” system, which, like its “plumbing” system, keeps it running efficiently. A problem with the heart’s plumbing system – which includes a pump (the heart) and a network of pipes (blood vessels) along with some valves and pumping chambers – can result in a heart attack. The heart generates its own electricity, which it uses to run the pumps (upper and lower chambers), causing them to rhythmically contract and relax. A problem with the heart’s electrical system could result in sudden cardiac arrest, an often fatal condition.

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 (ICD), a device implanted by a physician 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.

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s EP physicians also perform catheter ablations. During ablation, a doctor inserts a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into the heart, through which a machine delivers energy to tiny areas of the heart that cause the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy “disconnects” the pathway of the abnormal rhythm.

Most of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. The lab features the latest technology, including state-of-the-art audio/visual technology including high definition TV and computer feeds through which Web-based and simulcast procedures can be observed from remote locations. Medical staff also are able to view images from several imaging systems at once, significantly enhancing and expediting the diagnostic and therapy processes. This technology is available in just 11 other U.S. labs.

“Our primary goal is to apply state-of-the-art ablation practices and device therapy for the Chicagoland area,” said Ted Paarlberg, Adventist Midwest Health’s regional executive of cardiology services. “Ultimately, we will put Adventist Hinsdale Hospital on the map as a national EP Center of Excellence.” 

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.