MD Insider provides a unique inside look into medical conditions and treatments to uncover ground-breaking advances that are truly transforming healthcare. The series features insight from acclaimed cardiologist, Dean Kereiakes, MD, breaking down exciting innovations and treatments available right here in the Tristate.
In this episode, Dr. Kereiakes and host Clyde Gray are joined by Alex Costea, MD, a physician with The Christ Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute who specializes in cardiovascular disease and clinical cardiac electrophysiology.
Clyde: Cardiac electrophysiology or “EP” is a rapidly evolving sub-specialty in cardiology involving abnormal heart rhythms as well as medical devices. Here to tell us what’s currently available in EP in Cincinnati is Dr. Dean Kereiakes, President of The Christ Hospital Heart & Vascular Institute and Dr. Alex Costea, cardiac electrophysiologist at The Christ Hospital. Welcome, Dr Kereiakes.
Dr. Kereiakes: Thank you, Clyde. As pacemakers and defibrillators have been around for decades, many of the wires or “leads” that connect these devices to the heart simply “wear out” and need to be replaced. This requires very specialized equipment and expertise. In addition, exciting advances in technology for mapping and ablation of atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia have helped return patients with these arrythmias to more normal lifestyles. Here to tell us about the leading-edge developments at the Christ Hospital is Dr Alex Costea.
Dr. Costea: Thank you, Dean. When pacemaker leads wear out, they can be left in place and new ones can be added alongside, but multiple wires can be problematic. We have the specialized equipment and experience needed to remove these wires safely if required and we provide this valuable service for patients throughout the region. Atrial fibrillation or “AF” can cause symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations or may be associated with heart failure and stroke.
We have streamlined the ablation procedure to return normal heart rhythm and many patients can go home the same day following ablation. Working collaboratively with our surgeons, J. Michael Smith and Geoff Answini, we have been able to restore normal rhythm to patients who have been in AF for years. In addition, we are part of a national registry of select hospitals which perform high volume, high efficiency AF management.
Finally, ventricular tachycardia can be life threatening. Our team performs comprehensive mapping of the heart’s electrical activity, collecting thousands of datapoints to find the exact source of the problem, followed by ablation and hopefully, cure. This procedure should only be done at high volume centers with specialized technology and expertise.
Clyde: Thank you doctors! We are fortunate to have these options available right here in Cincinnati at The Christ Hospital.
If you or a loved one have AF, ventricular tachycardia or need a new pacemaker lead, call 513-450-3777 for a consultation or second opinion.