After months of training and preparation, Dr. Rizwan Khalid, a cardiac electrophysiologist (cardiologist) at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, completed his first cardiac electrophysiology (EP) study and ablation, a procedure used to correct rhythm disorders in the heart, Oct. 25.
“Atrial fibrillation and other rhythm disorders are a huge health burden in our region – Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri,” Dr. Khalid said. “Previously, we did not have a center that could perform advanced cardiac electrophysiology procedures. Offering this locally provides state-of-the-art care to our patients and helps us keep our patients close to home.”
Patients with atrial fibrillation, or A Fib, have an irregular heartbeat where the upper chambers of the heart do not beat in coordination with the lower chambers, he added. A Fib puts patients at an increased risk of stroke and other potentially serious complications.
“When a patient comes to us with A Fib, I start them off with medications and if they do not improve, I move on to more advanced options,” Dr. Khalid explained. “Once a patient fails anti-arrhythmic therapy, an EP study and ablation is recommended.”
The EP study uses 3D mapping using catheters to help Dr. Khalid see a patient’s heart and determine where the disruption is originating from. He then uses a treatment called “ablation” with freezing or radio frequency technology to treat the focus of the rhythm abnormality.
“In most cases, this is an outpatient procedure, so patients can go home the same day or the next day,” Dr. Khalid said. “We can now treat more complex conditions with a higher success rate. For patients with supraventricular tachycardia, this procedure has over a 90 percent success rate and in many cases, an EP study and ablation can help patients reduce the medications they take.”
He noted that this procedure may not be suitable for all patients especially those with some severe co-morbid conditions.
“I have an extraordinary staff at the Heart Center,” Dr. Khalid continued. “This is a brand new service in Pittsburg. Developing a new service has a unique set of challenges and I am very proud of the way my staff has supported this endeavor through the program’s development and further training and education that was required.
“We couldn’t have done it without all of the support staff who supported this program including my fellow cardiologists, referring physicians and the teams in the ER, Telemetry units and ICU.”
For more information, check out Dr. Khalid's video.