Alexandru Costea, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease and Director of the Center for Electrophysiology, Rhythm Disorders and Electro-Mechanical Interventions in UC Heart, Lung, and Vascular Institute, is leading the way of cardiac care innovations.
“The heart is governed by an electrical system,” explained Costea. “Occasionally there could be abnormalities of this electrical network, either consisting of too slow of an activity, and therefore too slow of a heartbeat, or too fast of a heartbeat, which could be life threatening, or if not life threatening, very much bothersome to the patient.”
As one of four electrophysiologists in the Center for Electrophysiology, Rhythm Disorders and Electro-Mechanical Interventions, Costea collaborates with the many researchers, nurses, technicians and other specialists on the team who help provide the best possible care to patients.
“We are treating complex arrhythmias, usually arrhythmias that are not treated in other places in Cincinnati, focused on specific complex and high-risk procedures,” said Costea. “We’ve embraced a lot of a new technology and new approaches that allow us to treat patients safely and successfully.”
Costea and his team are currently working on various efforts to develop radiation-free procedures. Typically, electrophysiology procedures require X-rays to see the heart and catheters used to treat rhythm abnormalities. While X-rays pose little risk in small doses, they can cause problems long-term, especially when exposure is higher or when patients are young.
“Right now, we’re focused on doing all these procedures without using fluoroscopy by using a mapping system that allows catheter manipulation that is more or less like a GPS,” said Costea. “That system is available in all hospitals that do cardiac ablations, but what's special about our group is that we use this system exclusively without adding the radiation, without exposing patients to radiation at all.”
In addition, Costea recently began a research effort to complete device implants without radiation. Costea said staying involved in innovative research allows him to stay up-to-date and pass on the best information to the students he mentors at the UC College of Medicine.
“Having a fellow, someone eager to learn, keeps us engaged and excited. We always want to be up to date,” said Costea, who also serves as the Director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship Program. “We always want to have enough knowledge to inspire the new generation.”