Heart Institute Physicians Begin Consulting in Kern County on Complex Heart Conditions

Los Angeles - Oct. 08, 2013 – To help physicians expand the scope of cardiovascular services available in their community, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute specialists have begun making regular visits to Kern County to consult with local cardiologists on complex cases.

The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is collaborating with Central Cardiology, a highly respected cardiology practice with nine locations throughout the area.

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute electrophysiologists, physicians specializing in heart rhythm disorders, will meet regularly with Central Cardiology patients in need of complex treatment. The Heart Institute specialists then will collaborate with Central Cardiology physicians on how to best employ a multidisciplinary approach to care for patients with conditions related to irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmia.  Arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation, can cause a potentially fatal disruption in the flow of blood to the brain, heart and other organs.

"From the start of Central Cardiology 40 years ago, our goal has been to provide Kern County with the best in cardiovascular medicine," said Brij Bhambi, MD, chief medical officer of Bakersfield Heart Hospital and chief of staff of Central Cardiology. "We began the heart program at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and helped establish Bakersfield Heart Hospital. Now, through our work with the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, we can offer our patients the next level of care without them having to leave home to be evaluated."

Heart Institute physicians Xunzhang Wang, MD, director of the Heart Institute's Complex Ablation Laboratory, and Michael Shehata, MD, director of the Institute's Pacemaker and Defibrillator Clinic, began consulting with Central Cardiology in September.

Wang is a pioneer in the field of percutaneous catheter ablation techniques to restore healthy heart rhythm. He was instrumental in the development of groundbreaking therapies using radiofrequency energy for the ablation of various arrhythmias including atrio-ventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia and accessory pathway mediated tachycardias. He co-authored the seminal publication on the development of the catheter ablation procedure in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991.

Shehata is also an expert in pacemaker and defibrillator implantation as well as follow-up. He has been in involved in clinical research investigating novel techniques to improve defibrillation testing for implanted cardiac devices as well as exploring the development of new ablation technologies and imaging techniques to help guide catheter based ablation procedures.

"We are excited to begin working with Central Cardiology and look forward to expanding treatment options for their patients," said electrophysiologist Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research. "Electrophysiology is making huge progress on an almost daily basis and now those medical advances and leading edge treatments will be readily available throughout Kern County."