Seth J. Worley, M.D.
Cardiologist Seth Worley, M.D., came to Lancaster in 1987 to start the local electrophysiology program.
He hasn’t stopped innovating since -- even when he encountered challenges along the way.
Dr. Worley was inspired by his plastic surgeon father, who invented devices to improve patient care. As a child, he spent hours alongside his father in the basement workshop, tinkering with medical inventions, motors and radios.
Cardiology combined Dr. Worley’s cerebral and surgical skills. While others were hesitant to embrace a new discipline, EP was a natural fit, given his comfort with electronics and affinity for innovation.
Through early clinical trials for cardiac resynchronization therapy, Dr. Worley helped to advance both patient care and physician knowledge. He pioneered development of an interventional CRT technique, using tools designed to facilitate and optimize left ventricular LV lead implantation.
“By using these new techniques and tools, we can improve outcomes for really sick people, many of whom have run out of options,” he said. “A lot of it was improvisation, and trial and error. I baked some of the tools in my oven at home.”
Dr. Worley developed Lancaster General Hospital’s codes R and S, ensuring quick access to lifesaving treatment for heart attack and stroke patients. He founded the Lancaster Heart and Stroke Foundation, which supports clinical trials and community service, and led efforts to place defibrillators in ambulances and police cars.
“A lot of ambulances didn’t have them at the time,” he said. “People were dying unnecessarily.”
Always eager to actively make a difference in patients’ lives, Dr. Worley shares his interventional CRT techniques and tools with physicians from all over the world. He often treats patients after previous failed attempts at LV lead placement.
But despite the positive results, he sometimes encountered reluctance to embrace his ideas for improving processes, tools and techniques.
“A lot of people don’t like change, but if we were to listen to them, nothing would get done,” he said. “I hope my work motivates other people to do something useful – not for ego, but to improve patient care.”
Dr. Worley’s improvisational skills extend to home, where he repairs everything from light switches to plumbing fixtures. He also likes sailing and wind surfing.
Now, after 30 years in Lancaster, he’s once again trying something new. He continues to share his knowledge and see patients as a senior consultant in cardiac rhythm device management for MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center.
“I’m not retired,” he said. “I have a new career.”