Enhanced lab treats patients with irregular heartbeats
Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital recently opened the new Arrhythmia Center, offering leading edge technology unique to the region. The updated lab provides heart patients local access to high-quality tests and procedures for irregular heartbeats.
The Arrhythmia Center provides advanced cardiac care, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The enhanced lab was modeled after facilities at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and includes a staff of six full-time nurses and physicians.
Located on the first floor of IU Health La Porte Hospital, the Arrhythmia Center includes three phases of new construction. The entire project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in summer 2011. Future construction includes additional patient procedures rooms and holding rooms. Phase one, however, is complete and the center welcomes patients.
Mark Dixon, DO, serves as the medial director of Electrophysiology Services-a specialized field in medicine dealing with the electrical operations of the heart. "The development of the new Arrhythmia Center at IU Health La Porte Hospital represents a continued commitment by administration to deliver world renowned heart rhythm care. This new technology allows completion of highly complex procedures right here in La Porte, close to home."
Leading technology, local care
According to Chris Atherton, RN, director of Electrophysiology Services, the Arrhythmia Center offers a range of services for heart patients with conditions such as unusually fast or slow heartbeats, or unusual heartbeat patterns. These conditions are clinically known as cardiac arrhythmias and could benefit from an ablation procedure.
"Most patients will be referred to the IU Health La Porte Hospital Arrhythmia Center by a family physician or cardiologist who knows there is an arrhythmia present," said Atherton. "We’ll be able to find out where that arrhythmia is coming from, so we can determine how to best treat it."
A cardiac ablation procedure involves the use of small, flexible catheters with electrodes to measure electrical signals in the heart. These procedures are improved further with the Sensei® X Robotic Catheter System from Hansen Medical-the core of the new Arrhythmia Center in La Porte.
This Sensei system allows physicians like Dixon to find the source of the irregular heartbeat, and perform complex ablation procedures more accurately with 3D visualization. Atherton noted, "The Sensei system helps improve outcomes for the patient. It assures a more precise, and smoother overall procedure."
The Arrhythmia Center at IU Health La Porte Hospital is one of only three facilities in the state currently using the advanced technology of the Sensei system. "Michiana patients who have previously been referred to Chicago or Indianapolis won’t need to travel as far for procedures of equal quality," said Atherton.
The Patient experience
The IU Health La Porte Hospital Arrhythmia Center is equipped to serve people of all ages-including children-who suffer from abnormal heart rhythms. Patients in need of electrophysiology services include those who have already been diagnosed with conditions such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia or ventricular arrhythmias, while others may still need a diagnosis. Signs and symptoms of possible heart arrhythmias may include:
- Dizziness or feeling light-headed
- Weakness or fatigue
- Pounding in chest
- Chest discomfort
- Heart palpitations (skipped heartbeats, heart "flip flops" or feeling like your heart is running away)
IU Health La Porte Hospital encourages those experiencing arrhythmia signs and symptoms to talk to their family doctor or cardiologist, who may refer them to the Arrhythmia Center.
Upon referral, patients are welcome to visit the Arrhythmia Center for a consultation with staff, who will make recommendations for next steps based on the patient’s history and symptoms. As Atherton noted, "One advantage for patients with IU Health La Porte Hospital is that they receive continuity of care. The same staff who see you in the office during your visit or consultation will be the same friendly faces performing the procedures you need during all stages of testing and treatment."