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Proactive Heart Health is Key to Keeping a Steady Beat

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Proactive Heart Health
is Key to Keeping
a Steady Beat

Knowing the signs of an arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disorder, and treatment options is half the battle.

You know the symptoms: shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, dizziness – any of these could indicate a heart in need of help.

During winter months, when stress has a tendency to mount and healthy habits sometimes fall by the wayside, it’s especially important to listen to your body and seek assistance if you don’t like what you’re hearing.

Heart rhythm problems, also known as arrhythmias, occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats get out of whack.

“Heart rhythm disorders span a wide range—from hearts that beat too slowly, which can cause weakness and fainting, to those that beat too fast, which can lead to heart attack or stroke,” says Scott Hessen, M.D., medical director of the recently upgraded Electrophysiology Laboratory at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pa.

Stress, smoking, high blood pressure and drinking too much alcohol or caffeine are just a few of the factors that can lead to an arrhythmia. Others range from blocked arteries in the heart to an overactive thyroid gland. Even air pollution can contribute.

“There are many underlying reasons why someone can suffer from an irregular heartbeat,” Dr. Hessen notes. “Electrophysiologists are physicians who are specially trained to peel back every layer and collect as much information as they can to determine the source of a patient’s abnormal heart rhythm.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than a half-million lives each year. That’s why, in matters of the heart, professional advice and proper cardiac care at the first sign of symptoms are paramount.

From diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and its Electrophysiology Lab has an experienced, compassionate team of heart specialists on the job to provide the best possible assistance.

A few of the lab’s services include:

  • Tilt Table Testing to determine whether an abnormal nervous system reflex is responsible for lightheadedness or passing out.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy, which uses a small device placed under the patient’s skin below the collarbone to improve the heart’s pumping efficiency and help relieve heart failure symptoms.
  • Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation, which sends radio waves through a catheter to the heart muscle, permanently blocking an abnormal pathway.
  • The implanting of a defibrillator to sense and correct a dangerously abnormal heart rhythm, or a pacemaker to send electrical signals that can start or regulate a slow heartbeat.

The lab also offers a newer service known as an intracardiac echocardiogram. Performed under local anesthesia, the procedure involves passing a thin, flexible tube with a tiny transducer through an artery by way of a small nick in the arm, wrist or groin. The physician positions the catheter so that ultrasound images of the heart and its valves can be recorded and interpreted for potential problems or disease.

The result is a more direct visualization of heart structures than can be achieved by most other tests, thus enabling physicians to develop a precise treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Crozer-Chester Medical Center is part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System, which was not only first in Delaware County to establish an electrophysiology program to treat heart rhythm disorders, but also first to perform open-heart surgery and primary angioplasty. So, it’s no wonder that Crozer holds a place at the cutting edge of helping cardiac patients manage their health and live full lives.

As Dr. Hessen explains, “With our newly renovated electrophysiology laboratory and added services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Crozer-Keystone will continue to offer the targeted therapies necessary for our cardiac patients’ best outcomes.”

Crozer-Chester Medical Center
One Medical Center Boulevard 
Upland, PA 19013
1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258)
www.crozerkeystone.org

CROZER-CHESTER MEDICAL CENTER provides quality, patient-centered cardiac care and is a leader in establishing specialty cardiac programs for surgery and rehabilitation. Part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System, the hospital earned the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s Platinum Performance Achievement Award in 2013, recognizing the hospital’s high standard care for heart attack patients. It is also a BlueCross BlueShield Blue Distinction Center, recognizing its impressive track record for patient safety and health outcomes, and has been named among the nation’s “100 Hospitals With Great Heart Programs” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

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