Pressure and pain -- one in your chest, the other in your arm. Theyre not the only signs, but they are the most predominate signs that youre having a heart attack. In this medical breakthrough, well tell you about two medical firsts that can detect heart attacks and save lives.
Its a scene that plays out across America every day.
A heart attack strikes. A heart stops.
It happened to Carl Honaker.
"I had a little pain, but that was it," Carl Honaker, heart attack sufferer, told Ivanhoe.
Three months and several stents later, doctors say Honaker could be implanted with a new heart attack warning system called the guardian alert system.
The pacemaker-like device is implanted in the chest. A wire extending into the heart continuously analyzes heart rhythm -- looking for signs of a blocked coronary artery.
This is looking for subtle changes that are associated with a decrease in blood flow to a region of the heart. Andrew Kaplan, M.D. Cardiac Electrophysiologist from Banner Heart Hospital said.
If the system detects a heart problem, the device vibrates in the chest. A pager the patient carries with them also flashes and beeps and tells them to call 911.
And when you get to the doctor with chest pains, instead of their stethoscope, doctors may pull out the world's smallest ultrasound machine. It can immediately show them if youre suffering from heartburn or a heart attack.
I can turn it around and show the patient their own heart and when a patient sees their own heart, it really makes an impression, so if their walls are too thin or if one of their valves is leaking." Tony DeMaria, M.D. from UC San Diego said.
Using 3-D technology, Dr. DeMaria can see the size, shape and function of the heart in real-time.
Whether youre at home, at the doctors office or in the operating room, there are new technologies that can bring peace of mind and save lives.
Im just glad Im healthy and alive. Honaker concluded.
Medical Firsts To Keep Your Heart Going -- Research Summary
PACEMAKERS: According to the Mayo Clinic, a pacemaker is a tiny device that is about the size of a pocket watch and is implanted between the skin and the heart. It functions to help people with specific heart conditions regulate their heartbeat. Such conditions can include a group of problems called arrhythmias, where the heart has an abnormal rhythm due to a variety of possible reasons. The aging of the heart can lead to a slowing of the heartbeat as can the damage from a heart attack. Genetic conditions and certain medications can also cause an irregular heartbeat. The device is implanted during a minor surgery, requiring only a few precautions following its installation.
NEED: Doctors can decide whether or not their patient may benefit from a pacemaker after performing a series of tests on their heartbeat. An electrocardiogram is a noninvasive test wherein electrodes are applied to the patients chest and, in some cases, limbs to measure the electrical impulses of their heart. This test can accurately detect irregular heartbeat patterns. A Holter monitor, also called an ambulatory electrocardiogram monitor, is able to record the patients heartbeat rhythms over an entire day. Again, electrodes are applied to the chest and are read by a pocket recording device, which can also be attached to a belt or backpack strap. While these readings are being recorded, the patient is encouraged to keep a diary of the various activities performed throughout the day and the different symptoms that were experienced. These diary entries are then compared to the recordings to determine the problem. Echocardiograms utilize a small device called a transducer, which is applied to the chest to read echoes from the patients heartbeat. These readings are transmitted to another device that translates them into sound waves, thus producing an image of the patients heartbeat. The images can determine the functionality of the persons heart muscles. A stress test can help determine if ones heart problems are the result of demanding physical activity. During this test, one is given an echocardiogram or an electrocardiogram at the beginning and end of a session on a treadmill or exercise bike. (SOURCE: Mayo Clinic)
NEW DEVICES: The Guardian Alert System is a device that looks like a pacemaker and is implanted in the chest. A wire extending into the heart continuously analyzes the heart rhythm, looking for signs of a blocked artery. If the system detects a problem, the device vibrates in the chest and alerts the patient to call 911.
Another device being used by doctors at University of California, San Diego is the world's smallest ultrasound machine. It can immediately show doctors if a patient is suffering from heartburn or a heart attack by using 3D technology. Physicians can see the size and shape of the heart in real-time. While doctors say it won't replace traditional, larger imaging devices, it will give them an easy way to test patients as soon as possible to see any problems. MORE
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Barbara Lambeth Banner Heart Hospital Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org
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