GHA Member Hospital Happenings

Phoebe Reinvests $1.3 Million in Advanced Technology Aimed at Treating the Electrical Systems of the Heart


Albany, Ga. – The evolution of cardiac intervention is expanding at an astounding pace. New interventional cardiology treatment procedures and technology are constantly being pioneered, increasing a full range of non-surgical treatments. It is the same with cardiac electrophysiology which provides highly-specialized diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disturbances known as arrhythmias.

To ensure Southwest Georgia citizens affected by abnormal heart rhythms have access to the latest diagnostic mapping and ablative technologies, Phoebe’s electrophysiology (EP) lab recently underwent a $1.3 million upgrade. Upgrades include a highly sophisticated mapping system which interventional electrophysiology specialists use, in addition to fluoroscopy, to identify precise catheter placement as they perform cardiac ablations. The investment also included a new enhanced imaging system to provide optimal visualization.

Kamil Hanna, MD and Edward Koomson, MD, are among only a handful of physicians in the state specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias - from device-based therapies to cutting-edge catheter-based ablation.

“We are very fortunate to have hospital leadership committed to ensuring our patients have access to cutting-edge technology. Since 2007, we have done more than 3,000 EP procedures and periodically upgraded equipment to ensure our patients the best care possible. Presently, I believe this EP lab to be one of the most modern in the state,” shared Dr. Kamil Hanna.

EP labs conduct tests that help doctors understand the nature of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).  During electrophysiology tests, patients are mildly sedated and doctors use an electrode catheter to send electrical signals to the patient’s heart and record its electrical activity. The testing is “critical” for detecting irregular heartbeats that follow heart attacks, signify high blood pressure, or simply come with aging, and may cause scarring of the heart.

“Whether it is slow heart rates, called bradycardia -- some cases of which need pacemaker implants -- or dealing with tachyarrhythmia which can be potentially life-threatening, we perform a vast array of implantation, extraction and ablation procedures here at Phoebe,” Hanna noted.

To become an electrophysiologist, a physician has to first become an internist. They then complete three more years of cardiology training after which they further study electrophysiology a branch of cardiology that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

Phoebe has a team of 15 cardiovascular specialists and seven cardiology practices across Southwest Georgia offering services including cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, electrophysiology and a multi-disciplinary structural heart program.

Jones Named SGMC Hero

The Hospital Authority of Valdosta-Lowndes County, GA named Pam Jones, SGMC's Director of Education, as the February Hospital Hero at it's monthly board of directors meeting. Jones was honored for going above and beyond her role to educate and certify Pack 491 of the Boys Scouts of America in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR. 

Jones has been with SGMC for 25 years, serving in numerous roles including, CME Coordinator, Staff Development Coordinator, System Emergency Preparedness Manager, and now Director of Education.  

Jones has served as an American Heart Association CPR instructor for over 25 years and has taught countless classes. Last December, at the request of Dr. G Saurina, Jones taught CPR to Pack 491 of the Boys Scouts of America. Dr. Saurina and Dr. Staten both praised her  taking time out of her busy schedule to represent SGMC by teaching this group of young boys’ CPR.  

Jones says her heart and passion will always be in the area of education, and she is dedicated to working with leadership and staff to provide the best possible educational opportunities for the employees of SGMC.  

SGMC's administration received a letter from Dr. Saurina stating, “She did a wonderful job. This might even influence some of the kids’ future in a positive way, maybe by doing CPR or even electing careers in the health care field as they grow.”