A Medical Miracle

  • Posted By: Dr. Vanita Arora,
  • Posted On: 7/8/2019 11:34:20 AM

When a young ophthalmologist experienced blackouts, dizziness, and nausea, little did he realize his heart was in trouble. His heart was beating slow; at an irregular rhythm. The condition he was experiencing was an arrhythmia.

37-year-old Prashant presented to Dr. Vanita Arora, Director & Head, Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab & Arrhythmia Services, Max Hospital, New Delhi. A simple ECG indicated the extent of the medical condition. A pacemaker had to be immediately implanted to correct the heart condition.

The last 60 years have seen significant advancements in the manufacturing and clinical use of pacemakers. The first battery-powered external pacemaker was documented as a ‘medical miracle’ in clinical literature.

A miniature leadless pacemaker, the world's smallest device which can be implanted without any surgical incision, is the next 'medical miracle'. It is delivered with a minimally invasive approach through the groin region, directly into the heart of a person. More astonishing is the fact that it does not require the use of leads(wires) for implant like the traditional pacemakers. The success rates of implants are close to 99% in global trials, and they have also shown 48% lesser complications than traditional pacemakers when it comes to cardiac pacemaker insertion. 

Dr. Vanita Arora says, "Over the past five decades, there have been continuous technological advancements in cardiac pacing in India.

Pacemakers have decreased in size and increased in functionality and reliability Their batteries last longer. The Leadless pacemaker’s radically small size coupled with its utility in minimally invasive procedures has created a significant wave of interest around the globe and facilitated potential impact on patients in a form of being able to walk out of the hospital within 24 hours. Leadless pacemakers can make a world of a difference in young patients suffering from heart rhythm problems, without having to conduct any open-chest surgeries.” 

Sometimes, the heart 's natural pacemaker becomes diseased, and instead of helping to keep the heart beating in a regular manner, it causes adverse clinical manifestations such as weakness, dizziness, blackouts, and episodic pauses in heartbeats, demanding urgent medical attention.

Dr. Vanita Arora added, “In a conventional set-up, the pacemaker leads (wires) detect the heart's electrical activity, and transmit electric signals, thus stimulating the heart muscles to contact immediately. However, in the leadless pacemakers, they are placed directly in the heart without the need for creating large surgical pockets under the skin and insulated wires. This makes the entire process infection-free, simpler and more effective.”

Cardiac arrhythmia is a condition in which the heartbeat is irregular; This condition is not to be confused with a heart attack as the two do not necessarily occur together. Heart attack can occur with normal heart rate but with arrhythmia, the heart rate is too slow or too rapid. There is an increasing need for recognizing the problem of arrhythmia in patients in India. There is no particular age when this medical condition is likely to manifest itself. Sometimes, this is predominantly a medical condition of the heart one is born with.

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