The Region's Only EP Lab
Bringing the EP Lab Close to Home
For our hearts to run smoothly, we rely on the arteries and veins that carry blood throughout the body and the electrical impulses that orchestrate the pumping of the heart. Blockages or plumbing problems in the heart can result in heart attacks, but arrhythmias — or other electrical problems — can cause slow, fast or irregular heartbeats.
Caring for people with arrhythmias requires sophisticated diagnostic and treatment equipment that finds and navigates the delicate electrical pathways in the heart. An electrophysiology (EP) lab led by a cardiac electrophysiologist brings the equipment and expertise together to find the source of trouble and delivers solutions to help patients.
“Cardiologists with Texarkana Cardiology Associates approached us with an idea to treat patients with arrhythmias in our community,” says Lisa Patterson, BS, CNMT, RT (N), director of imaging services at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System. “Their vision was to build a state-of-the-art EP lab in Texarkana and asked if CHRISTUS St. Michael would consider creating a lab as they searched for an EP Specialist.”
With all the vital pieces in place, the CHRISTUS St. Michael EP lab opened in October. Kevin Randall Hayes, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist with Texarkana Cardiology Associates and medical director for the new EP Lab, moved to the area this summer and has led the design and outfitting of the EP Lab.
“People suffering with electrical problems in the heart can now be treated comfortably with the latest technology close to where they live,” Dr. Hayes says. “We have a high number of patients with these conditions in this area. I was thrilled to come to Texarkana to help patients in this region.”
Dr. Hayes and the team in the EP Lab work to diagnose and treat disorders in the electrical system of the heart. Arrhythmias can be caused by the heart’s natural pacemaker misfiring or from
another cell in the heart releasing a conflicting electrical signal.
“Rhythm problems can affect people at any age from birth to death,” Dr. Hayes says. “Many young adults come to us with a racing heart or an irregular heartbeat, but atrial fibrillation typically affects older patients.”
If an arrhythmia is diagnosed, minimally invasive procedures such as ablation can be used to resolve the issue.
“We guide a special wire inside the heart to monitor electric pulses moving through the heart in real time,” Dr. Hayes says. “We can see the exact location of any problem and make a small scar to block the pathway and 95 percent of our ablation patients should never have to deal with a rhythm issue again.”
Mapping the Heart
State-of-the-art EP imaging technology gives electrophysiologists the information they need to navigate the delicate pathways of the heart. The new Electrophysiology (EP) Lab at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System uses the CARTO® 3 System when ablation procedures to treat arrhythmias are performed.
“This high-tech imaging program is like a GPS for the heart,” says Kevin Randall Hayes, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist with Texarkana Cardiology Associates and medical director of the new EP Lab. “Using the CARTO 3 System, we can build 3-D maps of people’s hearts from the inside and use them to safely maneuver the wires to find the problem areas. The system allows the use of an extremely low dose of radiation, enabling me to perform advanced, complicated procedures with minimal complications for patients.”