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Electricians for the heart. This is not a formal definition but the description you are likely to hear if you ask an Electrophysiologist to describe their role in medicine.
The heart pumps blood throughout the body and its electrical system controls the pumping action. When your electrical system becomes faulty you need the services of an Electrophysiologist.
There are approximately 2,700 Certified Electrophysiologists in the United States with only 90 newly trained physicians entering the workforce annually, according to the American Board of Internal Medicine.
With such limited resources to recruit there are many heart programs that do not offer Electrophysiology services. However, McLeod recognizes the need for these services as an important component of their heart and vascular program and recently recruited two Electrophysiologists, Dr. Cyrus Kocherla and Dr. Kishore Subnani, to join Dr. Prabal Guha at McLeod Cardiology Associates.
Dr. Kocherla and Dr. Subnani are now part of a team of 18 physicians with McLeod Cardiology Associates who care for heart patients in Florence, Cheraw, Clarendon, Sumter, Loris, Little River and Myrtle Beach.
“McLeod Health has offered Electro physiology Services since 1993,” said Dr. Alan Blaker, Executive Medical Director of the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute. “As our heart and vascular program has grown, we saw a need to expand our physician staff both at McLeod Regional Medical Center and at McLeod Health Seacoast.
All three of our Electrophysiologists are highly qualified and skilled individuals who specialize in the management of electrical issues of the heart.”
Meet Dr. Prabal Guha
Dr. Guha’s patients are his priority. He can be found between cardiac floors of the hospital at McLeod Regional Medical Center to the Electrophysiology Laboratory (EP Lab) to perform procedures, to his office at McLeod Cardiology Associates -- wherever he needs to be to address the needs of his patients.
For Dr. Guha the decision to become a physician was simple. Growing up in a family where the practice of medicine goes back six generations, Dr. Guha always knew he would follow family tradition. More specifically Dr. Guha realized early on what field of medicine he wanted to pursue -- Cardiology and Electrophysiology.
“I had always found Electrophysiology impressive, being fascinated by the pacemaker and other similar devices used in this field,” said Dr. Guha. “I knew what my specialty would be upon entering medical school whereas many students make that decision later as they get exposed to the different specialties.”
Dr. Guha never deviated from that path. After completing a Cardiology Fellowship, he joined McLeod Cardiology Associates in 2003 and then in 2009 went on to complete an Electrophysiology Fellowship.
“With Electrophysiology, many patients experiencing very complex, irregular heart rhythms can be cured,” said Dr. Guha. “I find this aspect of Electrophysiology very rewarding.”
Dr. Guha distinctly recalls one patient he treated several years ago, who suffered from an extremely weak heart muscle, leaving him barely able to walk any distance.
“This patient had complex irregular heart rhythms that took several ablations to repair,” said Dr. Guha. An ablation is a procedure to remove extra electrical pathways within the heart that cause the irregular heart rhythm. Today, the patient’s heart muscle function is back to normal.
Dr. Guha’s scope of care also includes patients in need of Electrophysiology services in Sumter at the office of McLeod Cardiology Associates along with Cardiologists Dr. Dennis Lang and Dr. Ryan Garbalosa.
“We offer this service in our Sumter office so patients can receive quality Electrophysiology care close to home,” said Dr. Guha.
“With the support of the other specialists in the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute we can provide the most advanced heart and vascular procedures, restoring quality of life for our patients,” added Dr. Guha.
Meet Dr. Cyrus Kocherla
Dr. Kocherla considers himself very privileged to join a program as prestigious as the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute.
“I am pleased to be a part of this group of highly regarded specialists,” said Dr. Kocherla. “The Heart and Vascular team works together cohesively to provide coordinated, high quality patient care.”
Dr. Kocherla’s interest in health care sparked when he was a teenager while volunteering at the hospital where his parents worked.
He observed procedures in the Cath lab, receiving encouragement from the cardiologists and lab staff to pursue a career in Cardiology. The seeds of his future career aspirations in Electrophysiology were planted at the age of fourteen.
As he progressed through his medical training, Dr. Kocherla felt drawn even further to the field of Electrophysiology. “The procedural techniques and surgical technology in this field are advancing at such a rapid pace, and here at McLeod our team is at the forefront,” said Dr. Kocherla.
“I am also grateful for our highly trained and experienced Electrophysiology Team. They are committed to excellent patient care and are true patient advocates, routinely going above and beyond the call of duty.
Steve Dodd, RVT; Mary Allyson Gamble, RN; Kelley Harris, RN; Candice Hill, RN; Brittany Housand, RN; and Paul Micale, RN are invaluable assets during complex procedures.”
Dr. Kocherla has always felt a strong desire to serve the community by meeting the Electrophysiology needs of patients.
“Many of our patients are highly symptomatic due to heart rhythm disorders, and I want to take part in helping them feel better. With the outstanding facilities and exceptional team of the McLeod Heart and Vascular Institute, we can treat these patients effectively and get them back to what they love doing,” added Dr. Kocherla.
Meet Dr. Kishore Subnani
Reflecting on his childhood, Dr. Subnani knew he was going to be a physician one day. Growing up with a surgeon father allowed him to see the reward of helping improve one’s quality of life.
“During my Cardiovascular Fellowship program, I saw the need for Electrophysiology in the hospital setting,” said Dr. Subnani. “It is not an area of heart care many cardiologists migrate to, so I considered this and chose Electrophysiology because of the high need of this specialty.”
Dr. Subnani’s first exposure in working with the McLeod Heart and Vascular team was at MRMC. While there, he had the privilege to work alongside his cardiology colleagues and learn the technologies and services the hospital offered.
“McLeod offers a compassionate environment with a collegial and superb quality of staff,” said Dr. Subnani.
Understanding the needs of the communities McLeod Health serves, Dr. Subnani had the opportunity to care for patients at McLeod Health Seacoast. The Coast is home to many retirees over the age of 65 who have the highest risk of heart failure.
McLeod Health Seacoast recently completed construction on a state-ofthe-art EP Lab, Cath Lab as well as a new Hybrid Operating Room (OR). “The EP Lab offers a space to study and perform heart procedures involving Electrophysiology,” said Dr. Subnani. “The Hybrid OR is home to the most advanced imaging technology, making it an optimal space for specialized procedures.”
“The attractive environment of Myrtle Beach appeals to many retirees,” said Dr. Subnani. “This older demographic is the largest population of my specialty, so I saw the need for this area of service on the Coast. With the strength of our cardiology team, I am pleased to add Electrophysiology to the practice, broadening the available services to the community.”