Shock to the Heart!
Reported August 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Sudden cardiac arrest: it happens when your heart just stops, and it kills more than one million people each year. Doctors are hoping to change that fact by using a new device that shocks hearts back to life.
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A death on the basketball court … a soccer star dies during a game; both were victims of sudden cardiac death. Their hearts just stopped. It's what Lawrence Rice fears will happen to him.
Even though he's healthy now, Rice has a hereditary heart problem that could stop his heart at any moment.
"I've woken up from my sleep, grasping for air," Rice told Ivanhoe.
His grandmother, two great aunts, and his 21-year-old cousin all died from it. All three of his kids have tested positive for it. That's why he's one of the first to have a new type of defibrillator implanted in his chest.
Traditional defibrillators have wires that go through the blood vessels and through the heart. It records electrical signals and will send a shock if it detects a problem. The downside is wires can break or malfunction and need to be replaced. Lectrophysiologists are using a new device with less risks.
"Instead of putting the device inside the blood vessel you put it underneath the skin," Emile Daoud, M.D., an electophysiologist at Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, explained.
The new defibrillator is implanted, but the wire sits right under the skin, ready to deliver a shock when needed.
"Instead of delivering it inside the heart muscle, it delivers it through the skin," Dr. Daoud said.
The new defibrillator is not for everyone. It can only be used for patients whose heart beats too fast. For those hearts that beat too slow, they will need the traditional defibrillator that includes a heart pacer that can keep slower hearts beating.
The American Physical Society, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, and the Biophysical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Public Affairs and Media Relations
Ohio State University Medical Center
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Dr. Sudarshan Chamakuri
American Association of Physicists in Medicine
James Riordon, Media Relations
American Physical Society
College Park, MD
Director of Policy & Communications
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