Easton Hospital Opens New Heart Rhythm Disorders Lab

Easton, PA – August 2, 2016 – Easton Hospital opened the doors today on its 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 arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats, can now be diagnosed and treated in the EP Lab.

According to the American Heart Association, patients with rhythm disorders 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.

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 perform complex lead extraction and implant cardiac devices, such as biventricular pacemakers and defibrillators to treat heart failure and left atrial appendage closure devices for patients with atrial fibrillation.

Easton Hospital broke ground on the project in the autumn of 2015. “We designed the EP Lab to 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.

The EP lab is 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.

“This new lab will allow our doctors and specialists to keep patients in need of care in our community,” says CEO John Zidansek. “Easton Hospital continues to grow while still remaining connected to our neighbors as a community hospital.”

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.

In May, Easton Hospital began to implant a new device that helps prevent harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.

“This device closes off the left atrial appendage, offering a potentially life-changing stroke treatment option for patients who want freedom from the challenges of long-term blood-thinner use,” says Dr. Khalighi. “The new lab provides the ideal space for this procedure to be performed.”

Easton Hospital has been recognized nationally 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.

About Easton Hospital
Easton Hospital is a 254-bed acute care teaching hospital serving more than 300,000 residents in Northampton County and the five surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Founded in 1890, the hospital is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2015. The hospital offers an active Emergency Department which sees more than 32,000 annual visits; a cardiac care program recognized as an accredited Chest Pain Center and one of 55 designated Heart Attack Receiving Centers in the country; a Center for Orthopedics, Joint and Spine which is accredited by the Joint Commission for both total-hip and total-knee replacement; a certified Primary Stroke Center; a Surgical Weight Loss program designated as an accredited center in Bariatric Surgery; and the Easton Regional Cancer Center which is a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner. In addition, the hospital maintains two free-standing, fully-accredited residency training programs in surgery and internal medicine.

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