|Bridgeport Hospital has completed an upgrade to its Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratory that provides more space for patient care and new equipment, including a larger video monitor capable of displaying multiple views of the heart.|
The EP Lab is used by the physicians and staff of the hospital’s Connecticut Cardiac Arrhythmia Center (CCAC) to provide sophisticated diagnostic care and treatment of atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm disorders.
“The increased, better arranged space allows the EP team to work more efficiently,” says Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Craig McPherson, MD. “Expansion of the lab also facilitates new, more complex procedures, such as hybrid approaches in which cardiologists and cardiac surgeons work side by side.”
The hospital opened its first EP Lab in 1992—at the time the first and only one of its kind in Fairfield County. In the nearly two decades since, electrophysiologists—cardiologists specializing in heart rhythm disorders—have kept pace with the latest medical and technological advances in care. These include implantable pacemakers and defibrillators as well as catheter procedures that block the electrical pathways in the heart responsible for causing irregular heartbeats.
In June of this year, Bridgeport Hospital performed New England’s very first hybrid ablation to treat atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart rhythm disorder. The innovative, minimally invasive procedure combines the best catheter-based and surgical approaches, resulting in a more thorough treatment.
The EP lab upgrade follows the modernization of the hospital’s adjacent cardiac catheterization laboratories, where cardiologists perform diagnostic tests and artery-clearing procedures to restore normal blood flow to the heart to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
“Facility upgrades like the EP Lab renovation ensure that we have a comfortable, functional patient care environment to go along with the experience and skill of our physicians and staff,” says Chief of Cardiology Stuart Zarich, MD. “Physical space needs to evolve with advances in medical knowledge and technology. One thing remains the same, however—our commitment to provide the very best patient care and service to our patients.”
Bridgeport Hospital has been a leader in advanced cardiac care for more than 50 years. The hospital performed the first diagnostic cardiac catheterization in Fairfield County in 1961, the county’s first open-heart surgery in 1963 and the county’s first balloon angioplasty in 1981.
Other Fairfield County firsts at Bridgeport Hospital include the use of bare metal stents in 1994 to fortify re-opened arteries following angioplasty and the use of drug-coated and antibiotic-coated stents in 2001 and 2003, respectively, to prevent reclotting of the arteries.
Expert physicians at Bridgeport Hospital also implanted Fairfield County’s first implantable defibrillator to prevent sudden cardiac death in 1995, the county’s first pacemaker for the treatment of congestive heart failure in 2001 and the first MRI-compatible pacemaker in Connecticut in 2009.
Another milestone at Bridgeport Hospital in 2001 was Fairfield County’s first catheter ablation to treat atrial fibrillation (a-fib), the most common type of heart rhythm disorder. In 2006, the hospital was the site of Fairfield County’s first minimally invasive Mini-Maze surgery to treat a-fib.