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5 Things You Need to Know About Northern Westchester Hospital’s New Electrophysiology Lab

Northern Westchester Hospital has a new Electrophysiology Lab, along with a new Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
Northern Westchester Hospital has a new Electrophysiology Lab, along with a new Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Photo Credit: Northern Westchester Hospital

Its name may sound long and technical, but as you’re about to discover, the advanced cardiac services it will offer you, your loved ones, and your friends are close to your heart. Open since January 12, 2021, the Hospital’s new lab could protect your life and those of the people you hold most dear. Find out how from its director, Dr. Subbarao Choudry, who also has privileges at Phelps Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital.

1. Your heart’s electrical system helps coordinate each heartbeat. When it doesn’t, serious problems can result.

Electrical signals in your heart’s chambers help it pump blood in an efficient manner. But these signals can malfunction, causing heartbeats that are too slow, too fast or irregular. When this happens, the normal flow of blood is impaired. That can lead to dizziness, palpitations, fainting (with trauma to the body from the fall), increased risk of stroke or even sudden death.

The new Electrophysiology Lab at Northern Westchester Hospital is equipped to offer you the best outcomes possible for each type of heart irregularity (arrhythmia): from specialized testing that’s sometimes required to expert diagnosis and leading-edge treatments. Now all close to home.

2. The procedures are advanced. And more effective than ever.

These include devices implanted within you—such as a pacemaker to treat too-slow heart rhythms or a defibrillator for heart rhythms that are haywire and life-threatening. The lab also provides ablation procedures that involve removing heart tissue causing the abnormal heart rhythm. In addition, you’ll be able to receive a special pacemaker or defibrillator that resynchronizes the heartbeat (when, rather than the lower heart chambers squeezing out blood in a coordinated way, one part squeezes before the other). Some treatments can completely eliminate certain problems.

3. Physicians at the new EP Lab will mostly see patients referred by a cardiologist.

You may have discussed with a cardiologist the feeling that your heart was beating abnormally, or your sudden fainting or episodes of dizziness. Or your cardiologist has detected an abnormality in your heart’s electrical system through an EKG or other test. These and other symptoms and possibly test results can lead your physician to refer you to the lab.

4. No more temptation to put off crucial diagnostic testing—it’s right here.

In the past, in our community, people might have experienced fainting, dizziness, or an uneven heartbeat—and done nothing. Without an electrophysiology lab in the area, it was easier to shrug it off, to put it off, to “wait and see if it gets better.” Meanwhile, as the symptoms got worse, the heart was suffering more damage.

Now expert care doesn’t involve a big drive to New York City or elsewhere. No stressful trip out of your comfort zone. Now it’s easy for you or a loved one to be checked out sooner and treated earlier by experts at NWH’s state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab right in your own backyard.

5. Abnormal heart rhythms are extremely common. And your risk goes up as you age.

Not only are they very common. They are becoming more and more recognized with our increasingly sensitive technology. However, today there are many good treatments, and sometimes even cures. I’m excited to bring services to the Northern Westchester Hospital community that haven’t been offered in our area before, including implantations of many types of devices and certain ablation [tissue removal] procedures.

Some patients will need the services of our Cardiac Catheterization Lab, and some will need electrophysiology services. Just like with a house, either system—the plumbing or the electrical—can malfunction. And sometimes a person can have issues with multiple systems. For example, many patients have decreased heart function as a result of blockages in the heart arteries (plumbing). But because of their decreased heart function, they will be at increased risk for dangerous arrhythmias (electrical) and will require the implantation of a defibrillator.

It's incredibly important to bring the EP Lab to the Hospital so we can offer, hand in hand with the Catheterization Lab, a truly comprehensive array of advanced cardiac services for community members, right where you live.

The care and safety of our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is our top priority. We have put maximum safety measures in place to prevent exposure to the coronavirus by anyone who comes to the Hospital for emergency or scheduled care. Don't delay care. Please continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.