Local Hospital Leads with Cutting Edge Cardiac Technology and Research

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Offering new hope for heart patients in Southern California, White Memorial Medical Center (WMMC) in Boyle Heights on Tuesday announced that it now has at its disposal the most advanced cardiac technology available in Southern California to treat, and even cure, some arrhythmia patients.

The hospital unveiled its new $10 million Arrhythmia Center, composed of an Arrhythmia Center Catheter Lab and a Stereotaxis Cather Lab with a teaching room in between on Tuesday.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Hospital White Memorial Estrena Tecnología Cardíaca de Vanguardia

Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats in the human heart that if left untreated can cause sudden death. According to the American Heart Association, arrhythmias occur throughout the general population at varying degrees of severity.

The new center’s advanced technology includes the first installed “Niobe 2 System” and the only “Odyssey/Cinema System” in Southern California. The magnetically guided catheter system allows doctors to repair once remote areas of the human heart, according to the hospital.

Dr. Koonwalee Nademanee demonstrates how the system works. EGP photo by John Ung


The state-of-the-art equipment and the center’s head doctor, Koonwalee Nademanee, are already attracting other electro physiologists and cardiac students from around the world, White Memorial said at Tuesday’s launch.

 “World class healthcare is here in East LA. There may be other hospitals that come to mind as top of the line to other people, but we are building this [reputation here], and that is why we are so happy to have Dr. Nademanee here, he is the leader in this area, said Michael D. Chee, director of marketing and communications for the hospital. 

 “That kind of expertise, this kind of investment in technology, is what builds capable, high quality medical centers and that is what White Memorial is and wants to continue to be,” Chee said. 

Dr. Nademanee is best known for developing a highly refined technique for treating atrial fibrillation (abnormal or irregular heath beat), but he also happens to be the personal physician to Thailand’s royal family. He has received numerous honors in his field and has published over 115 scientific articles. 

Nademanee will use the Stereotaxis electrophysiology equipment to repair specific damaged areas of the heart and restore normal heartbeat.

The new equipment means a faster, safer and more accurate procedure that will save lives and improve the quality of lives of WMMC patients, Nademanee said. 

Nademanee said in the past they were unable to help certain patients who they deemed to be too sick to handle the procedures available to doctors. It was too risky, he said. The new technology will open up treatment to a much larger number of patients, even those once thought to be too high a risk for treatment.

Stereotaxis system uses magnetic navigation (similar to GPS navigation) and highly advanced 3-D computer mapping to steer a soft and flexible catheter to remote areas of the human heart to repair damaged areas and restore normal heartbeat. Another advantage of the new technology is that it reduces a patient’s exposure to fluoroscopy radiation by 44 percent, according to White Memorial.

Dr. Rainer Manzanilla, a cardiologist with WMMC, holds the replica of a heart as he demonstrates the newest technology in the treatment of arrhythmias. EGP photo by John Ung


In the last 20 years, the technology has evolved from medication-only therapy to manage arrhythmia conditions, to risky heart perforation, to this new outpatient procedure that comes to one millimeter and one degree of accuracy anywhere the physician wants it to go. 

Besides other physicians and patients, software engineers also have their eyes on White Memorial’s new lab. The system currently has a robotic system and the procedure can be done with the physician/equipment operator located in a remote location but software engineers want to see if they can integrate some software to duplicate Nademanee’s expertise, he said. 

The lab will treat patients who suffer from rapid heartbeats, who have fainting-spells, shortness of breath, and are at risk for cardiac collapse, congestive heart failure. 

Untreated arrhythmias can also lead to heart attacks and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. 

“This is just one example of how White Memorial brings exceptional physicians, dedicated staff and advanced technology together to create the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients,” said Beth Zachary, White Memorial’s president and CEO.

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February 10, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “Local Hospital Leads with Cutting Edge Cardiac Technology and Research”

  1. jose estrada on February 11th, 2011 9:42 am

    I am not royalty. How long of a waiting list is there to get treated by Dr. Nadenamee?

  2. GEORGE H STAEHLING jr on May 19th, 2011 1:35 pm


  3. Viviana on July 25th, 2011 3:34 pm

    This is a great article! Thanks for the helpful info.

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