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Published on January 12, 2009

Heart Rhythm Center Opens at Abington Memorial Hospital – Offers Unique Approach to Patients

ABINGTON, PA (January 12, 2009) – Abington Memorial Hospital is proud to announce the opening of the highly-innovative Heart Rhythm Center, a part of the hospital's Porter Institute for Valvular Heart Disease.

Situated within the Porter Institute's comfortable and welcoming state-of-the-art facility, the Heart Rhythm Center provides the most up-to-date and effective management for the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

A heart rhythm condition, or atrial fibrillation, is when the heart beats irregularly and, at times, too rapidly. Left untreated, it may leave patients incapacitated or susceptible to heart failure, heart attack or stroke. Patients at Abington's Heart Rhythm Center benefit from a full spectrum of the latest available medical and surgical modalities.

Led by Richard Borge, M.D., cardiologist and medical director, Heart Rhythm Center, and Mauricio Garrido, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and surgical director, Heart Rhythm Center, the program unites the disciplines of cardiology (electrophysiology) and cardiac surgery to provide patients with the ability to be evaluated, diagnosed and treated simultaneously. This unique collaboration allows each patient to be independently assessed, both medically and surgically, so that they receive a personalized treatment plan.

"Approximately 2.5 million people in the United States are affected with debilitating arrhythmia and it is predicted that by the year 2025 hospitalizations related to atrial fibrillation will climb to over 3.3 million," claims Mauricio Garrido, M.D. "The Heart Rhythm Center moves past simply managing the condition, by offering patients the possibility of permanent freedom from atrial fibrillation without antiarrhythmic or anticoagulant therapy."

In the past five years, the treatment of atrial fibrillation has evolved from managing the condition to providing a cure. Advancements in minimally-invasive surgical techniques enable the team to offer a range of treatment options, including isolating pulmonary veins, ablating abnormally active epicedial ganglia and removing the left atrial appendage, thereby restoring sinus rhythm and decreasing risk of embolic stroke.

Each patient meets with Borge and Garrido, to learn about the mechanism of atrial fibrillation and the latest treatments available. Completing the Heart Rhythm Center team are Kelly Norton, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., clinical nursing coordinator, and Nancy Bierowski, B.S.N., R.N.F.A., operating room coordinator, who also meet with patients individually.

"We believe this team approach to treatment of arrhythmia gives patients the best advantage," states Richard Borge, M.D. "And hopefully, a better outcome."

About Abington Memorial Hospital 
Abington Memorial Hospital is an 570-bed, acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of more than 900 physicians and more than 5,500 employees. These professionals provide medical care and health services to residents of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

A regional provider, Abington Memorial Hospital has the only Level II accredited trauma center in Montgomery County and offers highly specialized services in cardiac care, cancer care, neurosciences, orthopaedics and maternal child health.

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