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Blackrock Clinic News Blackrock Health at Blackrock Clinic has launched a new dedicated EP Cath Lab

Blackrock Health at Blackrock Clinic has launched a new dedicated EP Cath Lab

21st Oct 2022

The new lab is the third Cath Lab at Blackrock Clinic, but the first fully dedicated to electrophysiology (EP). 

EP focuses on the electrical activity of the heart. Patients attending the new EP Cath Lab will be treated for abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation (AF). These abnormal cardiac rhythms can be treated by the implantation of pacing devices, or by a treatment called cardiac ablation which looks to isolate the irregular electrical signals and restore a typical heartbeat. 

The interior of the new Cath Lab dedicated to EP procedures at Blackrock Clinic.

Patients attending Blackrock Clinic cardiology services can now avail of three fully functioning labs, two of which will specialise in:

  • structural treatmentsTAVI, Mitraclip, implantable defibrillators; and
  • interventional treatments – coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

The third and latest Cath Lab will provide mapping and ablation techniques and EP studies, including pacemakers and ICDs. 

Largest private Cardiology Service in Ireland

Blackrock Clinic’s growing offering of cardiology services makes Blackrock Health, Ireland’s newest private hospital group bringing together Blackrock, Hermitage, Galway and Limerick Clinics, the largest private cardiology service in Ireland. 

“Patient care is always at the centre of what we do at Blackrock Clinic, and when there is a surge in patient demand coupled with new healthcare technologies, additional capacity must be created,” said CEO James O’Donoghue.

“We are fortunate to have a hospital purpose-built with expansion in mind. This new dedicated EP Cath Lab allows us to increase capacity, meaning it will not only benefit Blackrock Clinic patients and those from our sister hospitals but patients attending from public hospitals via HSE agreements or other transfer routes.”

Open ahead of schedule following a €2 million investment, the new EP Cath Lab has four new daybeds to meet the needs of an increasing number of patients.

Highest standard of care

Consultant cardiologist and Head of EP at Blackrock Clinic, Professor David Keane, said the increased capacity will ensure cardiac arrhythmia patients are treated at the highest standard of care.

“This new EP Lab will enhance our ability to care for arrhythmia patients in a timely fashion. The new lab has state-of-the-art EP equipment providing access for Irish patients to the latest technologies, some of which are not widely available in most European countries,” said Professor Keane.

“These technologies offer the potential to improve the effectiveness and safety of catheter ablation for patients with atrial fibrillation. Such technologies include electroporation (pulse field ablation), a combination of ultra-low temperature cryothermal ablation with electroporation, irrigated multiplexed radiofrequency balloon ablation, and high-density mapping technologies.”

Professor Keane added that AF is the most common sustained arrhythmia and continues to increase in prevalence. “The potential consequences of untreated AF include a small risk of stroke and associated increased incidence of dementia. Smart ECG watches and other wearable technologies are detecting AF even in patients without symptoms that would otherwise progress if left untreated. Treatment of AF early in the course of the disease is most effective and this may also require a significant change in lifestyle and approach to the patient’s health. 

“Indeed, for patients with AF who attend the EP service at Blackrock Clinic, the patient is the key player in their healthcare team. In some patients, this may require smoking cessation, reduction in alcohol intake, increased exercise, significant weight reduction, and attention to monitoring their blood pressure and heart rhythm with the aid of a home BP monitor and smart ECG watch respectively.

“Most patients will require a blood thinner to reduce their risk of stroke and many will require a beta-blocker tablet to control their heart rate in AF. For patients in whom the above lifestyle changes do not eliminate their AF, catheter ablation may be required. This procedure is most effective in patients under 75 years of age.”