People who have weak heart muscles from heart attacks are usually at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
Living in the South, chances are you've lived through a major storm...The power goes out and you end up in the dark. It's a similar scenario tow hat can happen during sudden cardiac arrest whent eh electrical system in your heart goes out.
But just like having a back-up generator, an internal defibrillator can help you survive.
Dr. Arne Sippens Groenewegen talks about sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of defibrillators.
QUESTION 1: WHO IS AT RISK FOR SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST?
Answer 1: Patients with a pre-existing weak heart because of a prior heart attack or because of high blood pressure or a viral infection that created a weak heart muscle.
QUESTION 2: TELL US WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR PATIENTS WITH A WEAK HEART?
Answer 2: Many patients can benefit from pacemakers or defibrillators...devices that are implanted to resynchronize the heart if a life threatening arrhythmia occurs.
QUESTION 3: DR. SIPPENS, YOU CAN ACTUALLY MONITOR HEART RYTHMS REMOTELY? DEMONSTRATE HOW THIS WORKS.
Answer 3: Patients have a unit at their house which plugs into a phone jack in the bedroom and it communicates wirelessly with the device. The information gets downloaded from the device to the unit and a dial up connection is created to the internet and the server will download data. Physicians have access to it and are notified if there is a problem. In the future, we will have the capability to download information using a cell phone.
QUESTION 4: WHAT TYPES OF SCREENINGS CAN BE DONE TO SEE IF YOU HAVE A WEAK HEART?
• Know Your EF (Ejection Fraction) -- It's the percentage of blood squeezed out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat. If it's below 35%, there's a risk for SCD.
QUESTION 5: WHAT IF A PATIENT HAS A HEART ATTACK BUT AFTER 5 OR 10 YEARS FEELS FINE? COULD THEY STILL BE AT RISK?
Answer 5: Even 10 years after their initial heart attack and the scar that developed and created the weak heart, they still have a risk for a life threatening arrhythmia. We recommend they see a doctor or cardiologist to get screened.