Ohio hospital begins heart procedure to prevent cardiac arrest

It involves implanting a S-ICD device above the heart that will shock patients if they begin to exhibit an irregular heart beat


By Danae King
The Lima News

LIMA, Ohio — Care for cardiac arrest is just a heartbeat, or a short drive, away.

St. Rita’s Medical Center recently began performing a new procedure to help prevent cardiac arrest, the first in the region to do so.

Now, patients don’t have to travel to Columbus to get the procedure, which involves implanting a device right above the heart. The device will shock patients if they begin to exhibit irregular heart beat.

The technology is relatively new, it was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2012, and doctors at St. Rita’s are happy to be able to offer it.

Dr. Sam Rahman, intervention cardiologist, has performed two of the procedures since St. Rita’s began offering them early this month.

The procedure involves inserting a device called an S-ICD into a patient’s chests. The S-ICD, or subcutaneous implantable defibrillator, is implanted right above the heart, and, unlike previous technology, never touches the heart, though it does help it.

“It’s smaller, smarter and lasts longer,” Rahman said.

It’s also less risky and the technology is expanding rapidly. Rahman said the next step is to make the square, few-inches-wide box smaller and increase the battery life, currently at five years.

The device has a chord that goes under and around the heart, which is what shocks it out of an irregular beat.

It’s different from what Rahman and other doctors used to do because it never touches the heart directly, reducing risk of infection and more complications in the event it ever has to be removed.

Rahman and St. Rita’s still do procedures to implant previously used defibrillators and pacemakers, which they have been doing for years, Rahman said.

The S-ICD can also deliver a potentially life-saving shock to the heart within seconds, Rahman said, and anyone with a weak heart muscle is a potential candidate for the device.

Approximately 850,000 people in the United States are expected to be at risk of sudden cardiac arrest and could use the S-ICD, according to the hospital.

“It is important because it is one of the cutting edge technologies we can provide to patients in our community,” Rahman said. “It has many advantages, it’s less invasive and as effective as traditional implantable defibrillators.”

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©2014 The Lima News (Lima, Ohio)

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