Cardiac electrophysiology is the science of treating the electrical activities of the heart. Electrophysiology, or EP for short, is relatively new. Twenty years ago EP wasn’t even a cardiology subspecialty. Since then, it has evolved in clinical importance and technical sophistication. The EP doctor is the electrician for the heart. EP physicians do their work mostly using catheter tubes to access the heart via the groin or chest veins and resulting in procedures that are considered minimally invasive.
EP procedures are generally elective and often performed on an outpatient basis in “labs” that look like an operating room. While certain EP procedures such as pacemaker implantation can be performed in a basic EP lab or operating room, most other procedures need to be performed in a “complex” EP lab. Those procedures include implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation, resynchronization pacing, lead extraction, and catheter ablation.
Immediate availability of cardiothoracic surgery is needed to safely perform complex EP procedures. The state of New Jersey requires a certificate of need for cardiothoracic surgery and the only local hospital with that certification is St. Francis Medical Center. Therefore, any procedure that needs to be done in a complex EP lab should be performed at St. Francis to ensure patient safety.
With the opening of the complex EP lab, comprehensive, state-of-the-art management of arrhythmia patients is now available at St. Francis including catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation and other common arrhythmias, as well as cardiac device management including implantation and extraction of pacemaker, defibrillator, and resynchronization systems.
New additions to the program at St. Francis include an updated fluoroscopy imaging system, state-of-the-art, 3-D arrhythmia mapping system, and an excimer laser for lead extraction. The 3-D mapping system minimizes the amount of x-ray exposure for the patient and operator, reducing the time in some cases from over 60 minutes down to less than 10 minutes! This reduction in exposure to ionizing radiation greatly improves the safety of patient care. These tools allow St. Francis Medical Center to offer a high-quality and robust program second to none in the region.
Director of the Complex EP Lab, Eran Zacks, MD states, “The equipment upgrades that are featured in the complex EP lab allow us to provide first-rate comprehensive arrhythmia care while minimizing risks for our patients” He continues, “New Jersey residents can now have procedures performed locally as a result of the new technology.”
“Our goal is to provide the best possible quality care for patients with heart problems,” stated Jerry Jablonowski, President/CEO of St. Francis Medical Center. He continued, “We invested significant resources in our new complex EP lab so that our patients have expert physicians using the latest technology to produce the best outcomes.”
Patients with questions about the complex EP lab or to make an appointment can call 609-599-5771.
Photo attached (L-R) John Caplan, MD and Eran Zacks, MD.