Electrophysiology (EP) studies the electrical activity of the heart to determine where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from. Tests must be performed in an EP Lab, a highly specialized medical diagnostic environment. Photo: KGHFoundation.com

Electrophysiology (EP) studies the electrical activity of the heart to determine where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from. Tests must be performed in an EP Lab, a highly specialized medical diagnostic environment. Photo: KGHFoundation.com

New advanced heart rhythm program opens for Interior Health patients

Medical internists provide cardiac care in Trail, Cranbrook, Vernon, Salmon Arm, and Penticton

Cardiac patients in Greater Trail and across the Kootenay Boundary will welcome the news that a new advanced heart rhythm program has opened at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH).

Interior Health (IH) announced this new program last week, explaining that it came to fruition in a partnership between IH, Cardiac Services BC and the KGH Foundation, which raised $7 million for the program.

Previous: First PET/CT scanner in the Interior for cancer patients

Interior Health provided an example about how critical this new resource will be for IH patients, by sharing the story of an Okanagan woman who suffered a heart attack and was quickly treated in the new unit.

When Penticton resident Betty Lou Thomas woke up in her local hospital’s intensive care unit, she had no memory of what had happened. The last thing she remembered was sitting in a waiting room at her gym on a fall November day. That is when she suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed without warning. Twenty-four hours later, she was transferred to the cardiac care unit at KGH.

Luckily for Betty, just a few days earlier the new Marshall Eliuk Cardiac Interventional and Advanced Heart Rhythm Program had opened at KGH, meaning she did not have to travel any farther for care.

After a series of tests, Betty had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) surgically inserted in her chest in the newly completed KGH Electrophysiology Lab, which opened as part of the advanced heart rhythm program. The ICD is designed to shock her heart back into normal rhythm if necessary. The day after the procedure, she was back home in Penticton, resting and recovering.

“Honestly, it was a phenomenal experience,” said Betty. “Even though it was a scary procedure and scary what happened, I felt very comfortable. Everyone was so knowledgeable. We are lucky to have this in Kelowna. Now, for everyone who needs this in the Interior, it’s so close, rather than us going to Victoria.”

Opening the Electrophysiology Lab at KGH allowed Interior Health to add the advanced heart rhythm program to other specialty cardiac services at the hospital, including medical cardiology and cardiac surgery inpatient units, a coronary care unit, a cardiac surgery intensive care unit, cardiac imaging and an intervention lab. Patients from across the Interior region who need higher-level cardiac care can now access the full range of services in Kelowna.

As well, services are available at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where there is a coronary care unit, medical cardiology inpatient unit, and cardiac outpatient clinics. In addition, internal medicine specialists provide cardiac care in Cranbrook, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Penticton and Trail.

“Congratulations to everyone involved in this effort to enhance cardiac services for residents of Interior Health,” said IH Board Chair Doug Cochrane. “The partnership between Interior Health, Cardiac Services BC and the KGH Foundation demonstrates how collaboration can be the basis of enhancing patient care. This new program will benefit many people in our region.”

Read more: Work begins on next phase of work at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Read more: Kootenay man shares experience, non-smokers get lung cancer too

Community support for the program was critical and the KGH Foundation’s call to raise money for advanced heart rhythm services struck a chord with donors. In less than a year, the foundation raised $7 million for the needed equipment in the Electrophysiology (EP) Lab.

“We are grateful to be the bridge between such an incredibly generous community and our regional partners in health care,” says Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “The addition of electrophysiology and advanced heart rhythm services at KGH as part of Interior Health’s cardiac program are significant advancements that we can all celebrate.”

The establishment of the EP Lab at KGH not only enhances care for patients in IH, it contributes to an expanding network for cardiac services within the province. Patients across B.C. will benefit because of an overall increase in capacity for the management of heart rhythm disorders.

For cardiac patients like Betty Lou Thomas, having services closer to her Penticton home made a hard situation that much easier. Betty is grateful her experience took place just about an hour from her hometown instead of having to travel much farther.

“It’s wonderful for our community that we have this service because heart problems are something so many people have. This can happen to anybody and we are lucky to have such an efficient and effective service so close to home,” she said.

KGH is now the fifth adult EP program in the province, alongside Royal Jubilee Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital. This additional expertise and lab capacity will enhance service delivery throughout the province and improve B.C.’s capacity to provide specialized services to patients province-wide. Learn more about province-wide cardiovascular care and services at www.cardiacbc.ca



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Montrose resident Kimba McLean has hiked Antenna Trail every day since October and counting. Photo: Jim Bailey
Montrose man makes daily trek up Antenna Trail

Kimba McLean put on more than 800-km hiking Antenna Trail every day for the past six months

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read