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Bringing Renowned Heart Ablation to Irvine

Robin Mandelbaum hoped for three things out of her specialized heart procedure: the success that comes from high quality medical expertise, the convenience of being close to home, and the ability to get home to her husband as quickly as possible.

She was relieved when she learned that Hoag expanded its award-winning cardiac care in Newport Beach to Hoag Hospital Irvine. “I was really excited that I could get this level of care right here in Irvine. It’s very specialized, an electrophysiologist has to do it, and they have to have the right equipment,” she said. “My husband is 74, and I wanted him to be able to comfortably drive me to the hospital and home. The fact that I could do it at my hospital – Hoag Hospital Irvine – I was so thrilled.”

Hoag’s Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute is nationally celebrated for its clinical excellence and is often a pioneer for many new techniques or technologies entering the market.

Now, Hoag is bringing access to this renowned level of care deeper into the community. In June, Robin was referred by her longtime cardiologist, Mahmoud Eslami, M.D., to electrophysiologist and Hoag Hospital Irvine Arrhythmia Program Advisor, Teferi Mitiku, M.D., to become the first patient to undergo a minimally invasive ablation procedure at Hoag Hospital Irvine.

Being treated during COVID-19 added a layer of complexity to Robin’s care, but she said the staff’s professionalism and compassion put her at ease.

“I was nervous because of COVID, but from the moment I arrived, I felt totally safe. Everyone was attentive, they explained everything to me and took their time to answer all my questions,” she said. “My nurse in the pre-op, Ari, was so good. She made me feel so calm.”

For Robin’s procedure, Dr. Mitiku, threaded a thin, flexible catheter through veins and arteries in her upper thigh to the heart. The catheter emitted an energy source to ablate, or destroy, tissue contributing to her abnormal heart rhythm.

Robin, who has been suffering from shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting prior to the surgery, said she could feel the difference immediately. The next day, in fact, she was back at home with her husband and felt well enough to drive herself to a local coffee shop.

“You don’t realize how bad you feel until you feel good again,” she said. “You’re tired, irritable, unsure of yourself. You can’t breathe, you’re nauseous. I feel so much better now.”

Launching a complex cardiac ablation program at Hoag Hospital Irvine took multidisciplinary coordination and time, as well as philanthropic support. “This service is the right thing to offer our Irvine and south Orange County communities. Hoag is pleased to provide the same level of cardiac excellence here, as we offer in Newport, using the same advanced equipment, mapping technologies and quality standards,” said Dr. Mititku.

Robin said that she jumped at the chance to have her procedure performed in Irvine because Hoag Hospital Irvine combines the confidence of Hoag’s excellence, with the comfort of being near home.

“I think the most important thing is that I feel like I’m part of a health network that can give me all the care I need. But it also feels like small community hospital where I get taken care of like family,” she said. “Here, I can get both.”

For more information, call 888-515-5302.