Electrophysiology is a subspecialty within cardiology that evaluates and cares for problems related to the heart’s rhythm. Lourdes operates one of the busiest such services on the east coast. Tests performed in Lourdes’ electrophysiology laboratory determine when a patient has, or is in danger of, cardiac arrhythmias. The information is valuable in determining how best to treat abnormalities of the heart beat and cardiac electrical patterns when they are found.
As electrophysiology continues to evolve to encompass new drugs and increasingly sophisticated devices, Lourdes specialists stay at the forefront, with a full realm of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that include a variety of leading-edge devices and medications. The team uses an innovative system, for example, to map the electrical system of the heart, to correct connections that can cause a dangerous heart beat. They can use catheter systems and sophisticated guidance and electrical-mapping technology to find and destroy (ablate) problem areas of the heart’s electrical system. (Arrhythmia patients requiring surgery may receive treatment through Lourdes cardiac surgery service.
One of the most common procedures performed in the EP Lab is the implantation of a pacemaker. When the heart’s natural pacemaking network becomes compromised, these devices can assume the role of pacing the heart. This device signals regular contractions of the heart, to achieve normalization and improvement of blood flow. If the patient develops ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation (an irregular heart action due to abnormal spread of impulses from one portion of the heart to another) a defibrillator implant can be utilized in addition to anti-arrhythmia medication. The device shocks the heart back into normal rhythm when necessary.
Lourdes experienced cardiac electrophysiologists consult with patients about the full range of diagnostic and treatment options. Their goal is prevent sudden incidents and to take the steps needed to keep patients active and confident about their cardiac function.
A variety of patients at risk for cardiac rhythm abnormalities are treated in our telemetry units at both Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center as well as Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County. Electronic tele-monitoring equipment, responsive to the slightest change in heart condition or function, allows the staff to observe the patient’s rhythm and progress continuously. With progressive ambulation and therapeutic activities, the patient gradually returns to the normal activities of daily living.