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Innovative Technology Lets Hoag Fix Hearts Without Skipping a Beat

Categories: Press Room

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – May 29, 2014 – When the heart skips a beat in poetry and pop songs, it’s usually due to excitement and love. But when the heart beats abnormally in real life, the results can be deadly.

To treat heart arrhythmias, or disturbances in the normal rhythm of the heartbeat, surgeons must “disconnect” the source of the abnormal rhythm in the heart. Performed either surgically or non-surgically, the treatment is most effective if applied to the exact source of the abnormal rhythm. But pinpointing the focal point of an arrhythmia has been impossible – until now.

A San Diego-based company that first helped detect these “rotors” or focal beats, has developed a 3D graphical display to target where in the heart therapy would be most effective.

Hoag is one of only 17 hospitals in the country and second on the West Coast to use the FDA-cleared Topera RhythmView system, a 3D graphical display that pinpoints the exact “starting point” of a heart arrhythmia. The result is more accurate treatment and better, longer-lasting outcomes.

The success rate for atrial fibrillation ablations typically range from 30 to 70 percent, and generally require repeated ablations. The early research for Topera RhythmView is in the 80-90 percent range, with very few repeat ablations in the first hundreds of cases.

“RhythmView is essentially a GPS of the heart’s electrical activity, and its ability to target treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common disorder of heart rhythm, has been phenomenal,” said Jay Lee, M.D., program director, Hoag Electrophysiology. “This new system has accurately identified rotors or focal beats in a high percentage of AF patients on whom we used RhythmView, leading to better treatment and tremendous outcomes.”

Hoag was able to purchase this advanced equipment thanks to a generous donation by Newport Beach couple Pei-Yuan and Kitty Chia, supporters of the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart and Vascular Institute at Hoag. The couple donated $700,000 in grateful support of Dr. Neala Hunter and the institute’s Center of Advanced Electrophysiology after Dr. Hunter helped find – and ablate – the source of Pei-Yuan’s three heart attacks.

“Dr. Hunter is wonderful,” Pei-Yuan says. “She is very precise and very cautious, but she doesn’t try to scare you. She’s also very pleasant, very kind and very upbeat. And, she speaks with authority - I couldn’t be in better hands.”

Kitty agrees: “We’ve experienced many areas of the hospital, and not only is Dr. Hunter terrific, but the entire staff is,” she says. “We love them all.”

The addition of this equipment to Hoag's already leading-edge Allan & Sandy Fainbarg Electrophysiology Cath Lab Suite further pushes the institute to the forefront of cardiac care in Southern California, if not the nation.

“These new technologies and advances in AF treatment are game changers,” said Michael Panutich, M.D., Hoag cardiologist. “By investing in cutting-edge technology, Hoag is cementing its reputation as the destination for innovative cardiac care.”


Hoag is an approximately $1 billion nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats nearly 30,000 inpatients and 350,000 outpatients annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals, seven health centers, and five urgent care centers. Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, which has served Orange County since 1952, and Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010, are designated Magnet hospitals by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes five institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancer, heart and vascular, neurosciences, women’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institute. In 2013, Hoag entered into an alliance with St. Joseph Health to further expand health care services in the Orange County Community. Hoag has been named one of the Best Regional Hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report Metro Edition. National Research Corporation has endorsed Hoag as Orange County’s most preferred hospital for the past 18 consecutive years and, for an unprecedented 18 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as the county’s best hospital in a local newspaper survey. Visit www.hoag.org for more information.