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Dr. Aaron Hesselson talks with a colleague.

Becoming a Leader in Heart Rhythm Care

The UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Heart Rhythm Program unites a multidisciplinary team to assist with all aspects of arrhythmia care.  

Led by Dr. Aaron Hesselson, director of electrophysiologic services and a former heart patient himself, this group focuses on patient-centered care. “My experience then very much influences how I approach my patients now,” he said. “The patient doesn’t know what’s going on or know the technology. They don’t know the technical terms and what the end point is.”  

His team includes cardiac electrophysiologists, general cardiologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, cardiac device specialists, pharmacists, and a cardiac research team. 

  • Putting patients first

    Hesselson leads his team by example – taking as much time as needed to explain complex ideas so that his patients understand and are comfortable with their treatment plan. The patients’ needs and wishes are always the central focus when considering treatment options.  

    With a brand new, state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab, Gill’s experts have both the knowledge and equipment to perform simple and complex ablations, including supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.   

    Gill physicians also implants pacemakers (including the newest leadless devices) and defibrillators (including the latest subcutaneous devices) and provides cardiac resynchronization therapy. 

    To extend the reach of the program, Gill has six outreach clinics in addition to its campus in Lexington  – including the only EP telemedicine clinic in the region – to see patients throughout the state of Kentucky. This means patients can get the expertise of UK HealthCare physicians, closer to home.   

    In addition to Gill’s leading-edge treatment offerings, providers are also able to offer clinical trials studying new and innovative approaches to managing various heart arrhythmias. In 2018, Gill offered seven clinical trials for heart rhythm patients, allowing them access to potentially life-saving treatments not available at other institutions. 

  • Experience and volume matter

    UK HealthCare’s EP program is one of the highest volume academic, research-based programs in the Commonwealth. In fact, Gill saw more than 3,500 patients and performed more than 900 procedures last year. More importantly, Gill’s high-quality program exceeds national benchmarks. 

    Hesselson brings a background in biomedical engineering and 30 years of cardiac EP experience to the Heart Rhythm Program, which allows him to find unique solutions to difficult problems.   

    “As an engineer, the technical aspects of the job are very appealing. But more important is the gratification we get from taking care of our patients.”