Friday, December 22, 2006
Medical Reports: HEALTHCAST: Help the Heart
Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. But now, doctors have a new high-tech weapon in their arsenal to fight this disease.
WSVN -- Charles Williams has been playing bass guitar since he was 6. But a few months ago, heart trouble silenced his music.
Charles Williams: "You know, on stage, I just absolutly gave up on it. I had no energy."
At only 46, Charles suffered his second heart attack in four years.
Charles Williams: "My lower valve, lower left ventricle, was only pumping 15 percent."
Doctors decided to have a heart to heart with Charles' heart. They offered him a brand new device that's a defibrillator and congestive heart failure monitor all in one.
Dr. Eugene Chung: "Those who need the defibrillator are usually the ones that need heart failure monitoring, so that's a unique opportunity to combine these two devices in one."
It's implanted under the left collar bone and has wires that shock the heart if the rhythm is off -- what a defibrillator normally does. It also relays vital data, just like an implanted heart monitor.
Dr. Eugene Chung: "We can monitor pressures inside your heart and pressures inside your lungs, which actually tells us a lot about how you are doing."
Charles can send his heart data to his doctor's computer over the phone.
Dr. Eugene Chung: "The patient is able to send this data to us anytime they want or we want."
Then, doctors can adjust medications and perhaps avoid further complications.
Meanwhile, Charles says he's feeling much better as he strums along.
This device has yet to be evaluated by the FDA. Doctors say this is a fairly new procedure and some side effects like swelling, bruising, and infection can occur.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: