By now most of us know that October is breast cancer awareness month, but as bigger less-known killer is sudden cardiac arrest the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. Without early intervention from an automated external defibrillator most people die within minutes. If you know you are at risk, prevention is key and getting a defibrillator implanted in your chest could be the key to your survival.
A warning tonight this is surgery video and it may be disturbing to some of you.
You could say Dr. Riyad Mohama with North Central Heart is an electrician for the heart. The man on the table in this new electrophysiology lab at the Avera Heart Hospital is in his 70's. 5 years ago he had a defibrillator implanted under the skin on the upper left side of his chest after he was diagnosed with being at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Dr. Mohama is changing out that model with a new one.
Dr. Mohama says, "Sudden cardiac arrest is a catastrophic event. This is an electrical malfunction of the heart. The heart at the time of the arrest has a very fast, dangerously fast rhythm. It almost quivers and does not pump blood all over the body and within a few minutes the person dies."
The ICD or intra coronary device that Dr. Mohama is implanting in the patient is a combination pacemaker and defibrillator.
Dr. Mohama says, "There are wires go into the heart. It is programmed to recognize that fast rhythm when it happens and deliver a shock. Enough to terminate that fast and dangerous rhythm. It's helped to improve his cardiac function too. These newer devices we use in patients whose heart muscle is very weak and who's have symptoms of heart failure."
Most people confuse heart attack with sudden cardiac arrest, but Dr. Mohama says it's like comparing apples to oranges. They are 2 totally different things.
Dr. Mohama says, "Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. With a heart attack the blood vessel is plugged and does not allow blood to flow into the heart muscle. So it's a plumping problem. You don't call an electrician to fix the plumbing problem and vice-versa."
95% of people who have sudden cardiac arrest die from it, most within minutes. An implanted defibrillator prevents that, but you have to know if you are at risk. Talk to your doctor, this man did, he was and now he's not. Thanks to this heart electrician and this device.
Some of the red flags for sudden cardiac arrest are often the same for coronary artery disease... including smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure.