First Community Hospital Cardiology Program in U.S. Reports Implant Complications for Pacemakers and Defibrillators

Lebanon Cardiology Associates and Good Samaritan Hospital partnered to develop an Electrophysiology pacemaker and defibrillator implant program that cares for an elderly, ill population with overall rates of complication lower than national trials and academic centers.

LEBANON, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Lebanon Cardiology Associates ( and Good Samaritan Hospital partnered to create the first community hospital-based Electrophysiology (EP) program in the U.S. (and only center in Pennsylvania) to examine pacemaker and defibrillator device implant demographics and outcomes. Their recently presented study revealed an elderly, ill population with overall rates of pacemaker and defibrillator implant complications lower than national trials and available reports from single academic centers. Contrary to current perceptions, their data suggest that community centers may subselect an elderly, ill patient population and can provide high quality, cost-effective, and more accessible pacemaker and defibrillator care than academic centers in the U.S.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Williams, MD, MS, FACC was the lead author in the study “Patient Demographics, Complications, and Hospital Utilization in 250 Consecutive Device Implants of a New Community Hospital Electrophysiology Program,” presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions on May 21, 2010 ( This is the first U.S. report of the demographics and complication rates of 250 consecutive pacemaker and defibrillator implant patients (starting with program inception) in a non-academic, community hospital EP program. There was one major early complication (0.4%) and seven minor early complications (2.8%). Eleven of 250 patients (4.4%) were readmitted within 6 weeks of the implant. Four of these eleven readmissions (36.4%) were not device-related. In addition, the patients in this community hospital cohort were 7-10 years older with worse kidney function than those reported in national trials and academic centers.

The data suggest that Good Samaritan Hospital subselected a more elderly, ill patient population than found at larger medical centers and provided high quality, cost-effective, and more accessible pacemaker and defibrillator care. Biventricular defibrillator implantation is the most complicated device implant performed in EP laboratories and Good Samaritan had lower rates of major and minor complications when to compared to national trials and academic centers (see Figure). Highly performing “niche” hospitals such as Good Samaritan may offer improved quality care while reducing costs of pacemaker and defibrillator implantation. The implementation of their Electrophysiology program involved over two years of leadership analysis, strategic planning and work process formulation culminating in the presentation of their outcomes.

When asked about the rationale for presenting these data Dr. Williams states, “There is a perception (yet very little substantive data) that community hospitals cherry-pick less ill patients from higher-performing academic centers. Our goal was to objectively analyze our pacemaker and defibrillator implant patient demographics and complication rates to shed light on the experiences in a ‘real-world’ community hospital.” If all U.S. implanting EP programs had similar complication rates, major complications from defibrillator implants could be reduced by over 75% in the U.S. (conservative estimate of 100,000 yearly implants) and realize ~$60 million cost savings while improving patient safety.

Lebanon Cardiology Associates’ partnership with Good Samaritan ( has resulted in national and regional recognition. Good Samaritan received the Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure Gold Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for both 2008 and 2009. Good Samaritan is one of only 400 U.S. hospitals recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac. Lebanon Cardiology Associates is a comprehensive team of 11 board-certified cardiologists (including Interventional and Electrophysiology specialists) located only 14 miles from Hershey, centrally located between Lancaster and Reading.

Lebanon Cardiology Associates, 775 Norman Drive, Lebanon, PA, 17042. Phone: 717-274-5500.

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Lebanon Cardiology Associates, PC
Linda Ehrenfeld, 717-274-5500
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Pennsylvania

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Seniors  Health  Cardiology  Hospitals  Medical Devices  Consumer