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Winchester Medical Center Earns Cardiac Electrophysiology Accreditation

Winchester Medical Center Earns Cardiac Electrophysiology Accreditation

The Valley Health Heart & Vascular Center at Winchester Medical Center has been accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in Cardiac Electrophysiology. WMC’s Electrophysiology (EP) Lab is the first in Virginia, and one of only a handful in the U.S., to receive IAC accreditation.

The IAC released the new EP accreditation standards in February 2016, covering device implantation, chronic lead extraction, and testing and ablation. (EP “devices” include pacemakers to regulate irregular heart rhythms and implantable cardiac defibrillators, or ICDs, which automatically deliver an electrical shock, if needed, to correct a dangerous rhythm.)

Cardiac electrophysiology involves specialized diagnostic testing and therapeutic procedures to relieve symptoms or regulate abnormal heart rate and rhythm issues. Each year, more than one million cardiac device and ablation procedures are performed for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders worldwide. Treating electrical issues of the heart not only improves an individual’s quality of life, it significantly reduces the risk of debilitating or deadly stroke and heart-related issues in the future.

"The accreditation from the IAC is a result of the dedication and hard work of our electrophysiology team,” said cardiologist and EP specialist Daniel Alexander, DO, Chairman of the Electrophysiology Clinical Council at Winchester Medical Center. “Accreditation allows us to focus on best practices, and ensures our patients receive the best care. This is another example of the innovation and forward thinking at Valley Health."

Other WMC cardiologists who have been instrumental in developing the electrophysiology program are J. Dixon Brown, MD; Daniel Reese, MD; and Ajay Virmani, MD.

“We are delighted to be among the first in the nation to meet the IAC’s new Electrophysiology accreditation standards,” said WMC President Grady W. (Skip) Philips, III. “We have an exceptional and experienced cardiology team, a well-equipped lab, and ever-expanding capabilities. Earning the IAC’s ‘seal of approval’ signals to patients and referring physicians that they can trust our EP physicians and team to provide consistently high quality care with a commitment to continuous improvement.”

WMC’s EP therapeutic capabilities grew this year to include cryoablation for atrial fibrillation (Afib), an irregular heartbeat that can seriously impact quality of life. Rather than heat-based radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation uses freezing cold liquid to destroy extraneous tissue that causes the heart’s abnormal rhythm. Cryoablation allows the electrophysiologist to treat a larger area of heart tissue at one time, which reduces the length of the procedure.

The training and experience of the cardiac electrophysiology specialist performing the procedure, the type of equipment used and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure, all contribute to a positive patient outcome.

Accreditation by IAC indicates that WMC’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab has completed an intensive application and review process and meets the published standards of practice. Comprised of a detailed self-evaluation followed by a thorough review by a panel of medical experts, the IAC accreditation process examines the critical operational and technical components of the facility, including representative case studies and their corresponding final reports.