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Electrophysiology service

Cardiac electrophysiology service expanded

09 Sep 2020


Nepean Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (Cardiac Cath Lab) now offers an expanded and comprehensive cardiac electrophysiology service, providing a local treatment option for residents with heart rhythm problems.

Following the introduction of new 3D mapping technology and the appointment of cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr Ihab El-Sokkari, the electrophysiology service can now diagnose and treat patients with a variety of complex heart rhythm problems, known as arrhythmias.

Dr El-Sokkari explains, “There are different types of electrical short circuits that can cause rhythm problems in the heart. Some of them are easy to locate and treat, while some are more difficult and require newer technologies.”

For some heart rhythm problems, an electrophysiology procedure can cure the arrhythmia with a success rate greater than 95 percent and a recurrence rate less than five percent.

Until recently, the basic electrophysiology service at Nepean Hospital treated patients with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a common cardiac disturbance. However, patients with more complex arrhythmias had to receive their treatment at hospitals outside the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, where they could potentially encounter lengthy wait times.

The introduction of new 3D mapping technology allows the expanded Nepean Hospital service to treat SVT and complex heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, ectopic beats and atrial flutters.

Dr El-Sokkari says the expansion of the electrophysiology service has not only ensured patients can receive their care locally, but improved the safety of the procedure and increased the number of cases treated at the hospital each year.

“The new 3D mapping technology within our electrophysiology service allows us to potentially eliminate the need for x-ray and radiation within the procedure. It also allows us to localise things with accuracy that we didn’t have before with x-ray alone. We can now pinpoint the catheters in the heart within millimetres of accuracy,” says Dr El-Sokkari.

Previously, the electrophysiology service treated an average of 15 cases per year. However, and despite a postponement of procedures earlier this year due to COVID-19, the expanded service has completed 45 cases so far this year, managing an average of two cases a week within the Cardiac Cath Lab.

The enhancement of the electrophysiology service is part of an ongoing expansion of cardiac services at Nepean Hospital.

Access to the service is available via cardiologist referral.