30 per cent cardiac patients have electrical problems: Doc

Chennai: “Among the total heart patients in the country, at least 30 per cent have the chances of having electrical problems. However, patients misunderstand it with the common attacks,” said Kauvery Hospital senior consultant interventional cardiologist and chief of electrophysiology, Dr A B Gopalamurugan.

When such electrical heart problems occur, it has to be noted that the patient has a very limited time to administered with shocks. ‘If there is no fibrillator available to treat immediately, death occurs,’ said the doctor at a press meet here Tuesday.

In one such case, a 18-year-old boy was having an episode of loss of consciousness leading to significant head injury. Hospitals examined the brain and when he was later referred to Kauvery Hospital, he was said to have a lethal condition termed ‘arrhythmia,’ that causes abnormal heart rhythm.

Defibrillators are used to bring back normalcy when the heart rapidly palpitates. The conventional implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is fixed inside the vascular system through a surgical procedure.

The ICD is an electronic device, monitors the heart and regulates the functionality and saves from electrical problems. As it enters the blood stream, the doctor stated that the traditional device has its own set of problems.

“However, in this case, since the patient is too young, the traditional method is not preferred and we decided to use Subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) that is placed just beneath the skin. As soon as the rhythm becomes abnormal, the device picks it up and produces shock to bring back the patient to life, thus, preventing death. With this, the patient can be reoperated,” he said.

The doctor further stated that the device lasts long but the battery has to be changed once in every eight years. “The patient has to be reviewed once a year after placing S-ICD.”

NT Bureau