New advanced heart rhythm program opens at Kelowna General Hospital

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When Penticton resident Betty Lou Thomas woke up at her local hospital’s intensive care unit, she had no recollection of what had happened.

The last thing she remembered was sitting in a waiting room at her gym.

That is when she suffered from a cardiac arrest and collapsed, according to Interior Health.

“Twenty-four hours later, she was transferred to the cardiac care unit at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH),” Interior Health staff wrote in a release.

“Luckily for Betty, just a few days earlier, the new Marshall Eliuk Cardiac Interventional and Advanced Heart Rhythm Program had opened at KGH.”

Read more: New ‘Panther’ machine processes 1,600 COVID-19 tests per day at KGH

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After a series of tests, Interior Health says Betty had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator surgically inserted into her chest in the newly completed KGH Electrophysiology Lab, which opened as part of the advanced heart rhythm program.

The day after the surgery, Thomas was back at her home in Penticton, resting and recovering, according to the health authority.

“Honestly, it was a phenomenal experience,” said Thomas.

“Even though it was a scary procedure and scary what happened, I felt very comfortable. We are lucky to have this in Kelowna. Now, for everyone who needs this in the Interior, it’s so close, rather than us going to Victoria.”

Read more: More health services in Kelowna keeping patients closer to home

Health Minister Adrian Dix acknowledged the importance of providing critical health services in the Okanagan.

“Bringing services closer to residents is a key priority for our government and the opening of the new heart rhythm program at Kelowna General Hospital will benefit patients in all parts of Interior Health,” said Dix.

Patients from across the Interior region who need higher-level cardiac care can now access a full range of services in Kelowna.

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