New device saving lives
Apr 06, 2017
Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) has started implanting a new device that could save people who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death – that it, when a person dies because their heart stops working due to an electrical problem.
In a first for JHC, cardiologist Dr Justin Ng has inserted the first subcutaneous implantable defibrillator in March.
“It is relatively new technology,” he said. “There are other hospitals in WA also already using this device but this is new for Joondalup Health Campus and it provides an alternative treatment option for people living locally who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death and are deemed suitable.”
“Compared to older technology, the advantage with the subcutaneous implantable defibrillator is that everything remains outside the heart and blood vessels which lessens the risk of serious infection.”
“When the device detects a serious problem with heart rhythm it delivers a shock which can re-start the heart – in same way we would use an external defibrillator on a person who we know is having a cardiac arrest.”
“I’m sure the development and application of this technology is only going to increase further.”
Dr Ng said there were many causes of electrical problems of the heart.
“The most common causes include previous large heart attack resulting in weak pumping action of the heart, a viral infection or congenital heart disease. All of these things can lead to electrical problems and some of these patients would benefit from the new device.”
“However, the most benefit from the new device is afforded to young people with normal heart function who have an inherited electrical problem.”