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Interventional suites to treat heart rhythm disorders

By Neil Zeidenberg

David FellNEWMARKET, Ont. – The Regional Cardiac Care Program at Southlake Regional Health Centre is expanding its capacity to treat the electrical workings of the heart with the opening of three cardiac catheterization suites equipped with the latest technology.

Southlake’s cardiac team can now provide state-of-the-art options when treating arrhythmias – a problem in the heart’s electrical system, affecting the normal pumping action of the heart. It’s said to be one of just 12 sites around the world that’s using the technology, and the only one in the Greater Toronto Area.

“This is an exciting step forward in our journey to offer the very best in cardiac care to our patients,” said Dr. David Fell (pictured), vice president, patient experiences, regional cancer and cardiac programs at Southlake. “As one of Ontario’s largest Cardiac Care programs, patients come to us because we’re known for our innovative, leading-edge technologies and procedures.”

The new Heart Rhythm Interventional Suites were made possible by a $19 million funding boost from the Southlake Foundation and generous support from the local community. Patients benefit from less-invasive procedures, faster recovery time and shorter length of stay. In some cases, patients can go home the same-day or next day.

In addition to treating arrhythmias, the Cardiac Program can treat patients suffering from other heart ailments such as atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition affecting about 200,000 Canadians.

In AF, the upper chambers of the heart beat rapidly and erratically. This creates a challenge for the heart to adequately pump blood to its lower chambers and the rest of the body. The condition is responsible for 15% to 20% of all strokes, contributes to heart failure and is a leading cause of hospitalizations and poor quality of life.

In addition to treating patients, the three new suites will be a showcase site for training physicians.

In the first year alone (April – March), Southlake expects to perform over 700 cardiac ablations and roughly 1,000 implantable procedures (pacemakers, and defibrillators). Other procedures include: aortic valve replacement, and cauterization.

“This puts Southlake on the map,” said Dr. Atul Verma, staff cardiac electrophysiologist and director, Heart Rhythm Program. “This will reduce the waiting list for procedures so patients are treated in a timelier manner.”

The Regional Cardiac Care Program at Southlake is the third largest program in Ontario and recently celebrated 10-years of excellence in cardiac innovation and treatment. Over 100,000 lives have been changed thanks to advanced cardiac services and state-of-the-art, internationally renowned treatment close-to-home.

The program services patients from three Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) – Central, Central West, and North Simcoe Muskoka.

“We’re thrilled to offer patients access to these state-of-the-art facilities. This is an example of how our cardiac team is putting patients first by bringing excellent care closer to home for the many patients we serve,” said Dr. Dave Williams, Southlake’s president and CEO.

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