State-of-the-art lab keeps hearts beating in Erie

In Erie, people with heart rhythm disorders can now get treated in Saint Vincent Hospital’s new, state-of-the-art Electrophysiology (EP) Lab and never miss a beat. Doctors are able to perform precise procedures in the renovated lab with the help of video technology. This allows them to monitor patient heartbeats in real time. The expanded cardiac care center is living proof of Saint Vincent’s continued commitment to heart health in the region.

Part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), Saint Vincent Hospital has been providing top-ranked medical care in the community for 140 years. In the EP Lab, doctors treat irregular heartbeats with the latest equipment and devices. Heartbeat abnormalities (also called arrhythmia) can lead to heart complications, fatigue, congestive heart failure, or stroke.

Giving her back her freedom

Virginia Mancastroppa of Titusville recently visited the EP Lab for a revolutionary procedure to treat her atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia. It short circuits the natural rhythm of your heartbeat. This can make it irregular and often faster.

At 74, Virginia is active in her community as president of the Pleasantville Days festival committee. She loves driving for hours on her own to see her grandchildren in Vermont and Virginia.

But her heart problems were starting to hold her back

“I’ve had a tendency to work through things like this, but it was getting really tiresome,” said Virginia. “I can’t see letting something like this hold me up. I want to have the freedom to go when and where I want.”

Helping patients experience life to the fullest

Doctors primarily use equipment at the EP Lab to evaluate the “electrophysiology” or electrical function of your heart. This controls your heart rhythm. They do diagnostic testing and perform procedures while viewing images of your heart. With this leading-edge equipment, specialists can also insert pacemakers and implant cardioverter defibrillators.

During Virginia’s cryoablation procedure, doctors froze the tissue that was triggering the abnormal heartbeat.

“I saw the lab before I had my anesthesia and I thought, ‘Wow!’ It’s amazing what doctors and medicine can do to help me live a more complete life,” Virginia recalled.

“It’s so nice to have a quality hospital like this so close to where I live,” said Virginia. “It’s only an hour away.”

More quality care options for patients

The newly renovated EP Lab offers:

  • An advanced fixed fluoroscopy unit, which provides enhanced heart imaging quality.
  • A new, integrated mapping system. This helps physicians diagnose and treat patients quickly and accurately.
  • New control and equipment rooms.
  • Its own air-handling system.
  • An uninterrupted power source to provide backup electrical power.

Expanding for the future

Located on the ground floor of the hospital, the EP Lab is 250 feet larger than before. This allows for the treatment of more patients. The expansion of the lab is part of a large-scale renovation project. An investment of $115 million by Highmark Health and AHN will help Saint Vincent provide the very best care to the people of Erie by enhancing their capacity to meet their evolving health needs.

Saint Vincent Hospital is rated No. 1 in Erie* for Medical Excellence in:

  • Overall hospital care
  • Overall medical care
  • Overall surgical care
  • Cancer care
  • Cardiac care
  • Major cardiac surgery
  • Heart attack treatment
  • Heart failure treatment
  • Stroke care
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage care
  • Women’s health

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