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Heart Devices 101: Guide to the Tools That Keep You Ticking

Posted 3 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, April 2, 2017 – Pacemakers, defibrillators and other medical devices have saved the lives of millions of people worldwide. Someone you know probably has received one of these heart-health enhancers, although not all have become household words. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluates and regulates these and other medical devices in the United States. Below, the agency provides a brief glossary of terms that might come in handy when a doctor recommends a cardiac tool: Heart pacemakers: These small, battery-powered devices are implanted in the body. They deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm when the heart beats too slowly. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators: These deliver a shock to restore normal heart rhythm when the heart beats too fast. Automated external defibrillators: These portable, automatic devices are found in many public locations. ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Angina, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Prosthetic Heart Valves, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Myocardial Infarction, Ventricular Tachycardia, Prosthetic Heart Valves - Mechanical Valves, Mitral Insufficiency, Atrial Flutter, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

'Ablation' Procedure Helps 3 out of 4 Patients With Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 25 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2017 – Just how successful is the procedure called catheter ablation at fixing irregular heartbeats that can be potentially fatal? Pretty successful, a new study found, but there are caveats. Burning or freezing specific areas of the heart can alleviate the common irregular heart beat called atrial fibrillation in 74 percent of patients. However, the procedure doesn't work for everyone and there are risks of complications, researchers report. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of early death by two times in women and 1.5 times in men. It causes 20 to 30 percent of all strokes and can decrease quality of life due to palpitations, shortness of breath, tiredness, weakness and psychological distress, the study authors explained. About 2.7 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association. For those whose atrial ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Dabigatran, Jantoven, Atrial Tachycardia, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Lepirudin, Angiomax, Iprivask, Anisindione, Miradon, Bivalirudin, Dicumarol, Acova

Health Tip: What Could Trigger Heart Palpitations?

Posted 8 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Heart palpitations are irregular heartbeats that should be observed by a doctor without delay. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says triggers may include: Feeling strong emotions. Engaging in strenuous activity. Taking certain medications, including decongestants or diet pills. Taking illegal drugs or consuming nicotine, caffeine or alcohol. Having certain medical conditions, including anemia or thyroid disease. Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Disease, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Atrial Flutter, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Ventricular Arrhythmia, Atrial Tachycardia

No Link Between Caffeine, Irregular Heartbeat in Heart Failure Patient Study

Posted 17 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 17, 2016 – Contrary to common belief, coffee doesn't seem to increase the risk of irregular heartbeats in people with heart failure, according to a small Brazilian study. "Our data reassures that most patients with heart disease might drink moderate doses of caffeine-rich beverages with no major risks," said lead researcher Dr. Luis Rohde. He's from the division of cardiology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre. Caffeine-rich beverages have long been suspected of causing several heart-related symptoms, such as palpitations or rapid or irregular heartbeats, Rohde said. "Because of this assumption, counseling to reduce or avoid caffeine consumption is still widely recommended in clinical practice by most physicians for patients with any heart disease," he said. But Rohde's team found no link between caffeine and abnormal heartbeats in the short ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Caffeine, Tachyarrhythmia, Fioricet, Excedrin, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Alert, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Atrial Flutter, Cafergot, Bradyarrhythmia, Keep Going, Esgic, Fiorinal with Codeine

Smartphone Device Detects Undiagnosed Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 13 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2016 – A small device synced to a smartphone may help identify new cases of a potentially deadly, irregular heart rhythm, a preliminary study suggests. Researchers in Hong Kong used this technology to check the feasibility of widespread community screening for atrial fibrillation, a risk factor for stroke. The hope is that catching more cases of this irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) in the general population will reduce the incidence of stroke. Over 13,000 people participated in the screening. Only 56 of those who were tested had results that couldn't be interpreted. Just over 100 were newly identified as having atrial fibrillation. Among those in the newly identified group, 66 had no symptoms of atrial defibrillation, the investigators found. "Whether this approach is capable of reducing the burden of stroke in our community requires further studies," said Dr. ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Atrial Flutter, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, Atrial Tachycardia

People With Implanted Defibrillators at Higher Car Accident Risk

Posted 29 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 29, 2016 – People who have an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) to control an irregular heartbeat appear to have more car accidents than similarly aged people without such devices, a new Danish study finds. Overall, Danish drivers with ICDs were 51 percent more likely to be involved in a traffic accident over the two-and-a-half years of the study. But the findings aren't necessarily a reason to tighten restrictions on these drivers, since the absolute risk of any one ICD-using driver being involved in an accident remained very low – around 1 percent a year. The issue is a tough one, said study lead author Dr. Jenny Bjerre, a physician at Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen. "On the one side, as physicians we need to take public road safety into consideration when we assess if these patients are medically fit to drive," she said. "But we also have to ... Read more

Related support groups: Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Ventricular Arrhythmia, Atrial Tachycardia, Cardiothoracic Surgery

CPR Help as Near as Your Phone

Posted 4 May 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2016 – A stranger or someone you love suddenly collapses with cardiac arrest, but you don't know CPR. New research shows that help – and CPR instruction – may be just a cellphone call away. This is "a real-world approach that the majority of communities can adopt to help improve survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest," said one expert, emergency room physician Dr. Robert Glatter. The new study was led by Dr. Bentley Bobrow of the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix. His team noted that fewer than half of Americans who suffer cardiac arrest in public places receive CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation – from bystanders, and survival rates are very low. When cardiac arrest strikes, "time is cardiac muscle," said Glatter, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The sooner we can initiate effective chest compressions and defibrillation ... the better ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Attack, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Myocardial Infarction, Ventricular Tachycardia, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Bradyarrhythmia, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Ventricular Arrhythmia, AV Heart Block, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Asystole, Atrial Tachycardia, Post MI Syndrome

Study Ties Implanted Defibrillators to Long-Term Complications

Posted 3 May 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 2, 2016 – Implantable defibrillators – devices that detect and correct an abnormal heart rhythm – are associated with a high risk of long-term complications, a new study suggests. "An [implantable cardioverter-defibrillator] is a highly effective treatment option to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death," said lead researcher Dr. Isuru Ranasinghe, a senior cardiologist at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. "However, there is a substantial and persistent risk of device-related complications and re-operations in the years after implantation." These complications include device malfunction, infection and inflammation, the study authors said. Ranasinghe said the rate of complications is higher than previously reported. "The continued occurrence of complications long after the initial implantation indicates the need for vigilance and ongoing surveillance of ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Atrial Flutter, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, Ventricular Arrhythmia, AV Heart Block, Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia, Atrial Tachycardia, Paroxysmal Junctional Tachycardia

FDA Approves First Wire-Free Pacemaker

Posted 7 Apr 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 7, 2016 – The first leadless, wire-free heart pacemaker has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medtronic's Micra Transcatheter Pacing System works like other pacemakers to regulate heart rate in people with heart rhythm disorders, but does not use wired leads to make the electrical connection between the device and the heart. One expert believes the device's approval is a big win for heart patients. "The leadless pacemaker is a major breakthrough in the field of heart rhythm management and will benefit patients through its ease of insertion and elimination of the lead," said Dr. Nicholas Skipitaris, who directs cardiac electrophysiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Traditional pacemakers have a wire or "lead" connecting the device to the heart, and inserting the lead entails minor surgery, Skipitaris said. "Through a small incision near ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Bradyarrhythmia, Atrial Tachycardia

Death of Loved One May Trigger Heart Rhythm Trouble

Posted 6 Apr 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 6, 2016 – Losing your nearest and dearest may break your heart, literally. People are more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat following the death of their spouse or life partner, particularly if they're younger or the loved one died unexpectedly, a new study suggests. Risk of atrial fibrillation – a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can cause stroke and heart disease – was 41 percent higher among people mourning the death of their partner, compared to others who are not grieving, Danish researchers report. The study reinforces earlier research that has suggested a link between heart rhythm problems and emotional turmoil, said Dr. Mark Estes, director of the New England Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Tufts Medical Center, in Boston. "Many patients describe that their atrial fibrillation gets worse at a time of emotional stress," Estes said. "This really ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Atrial Flutter, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Arrhythmia, Atrial Tachycardia

Wearable 'Defibrillator-in-a-Vest' May Help Some Heart Patients

Posted 29 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 28, 2016 – A vest containing a defibrillator may be an option for some heart patients who can't use an implantable defibrillator – the device that can shock the heart back to a proper rhythm if needed. That's the conclusion of the first science advisory on the devices just issued by the American Heart Association. The advisory, however, cautioned that there are still big gaps in knowledge about the devices and they should only be used as a short-term option for specific patients. "They serve an important niche, but there is relatively limited evidence about their effectiveness and safety," said the advisory's lead author, Dr. Jonathan Piccini, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "We need research and clinical trials to figure out which patient populations they should be applied to and what the relative benefit is," he ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Disease, Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Bradyarrhythmia, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Ventricular Fibrillation, Ventricular Arrhythmia, Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders, Atrial Tachycardia, Paroxysmal Junctional Tachycardia

Spare Dying Patients Electric Shocks From Heart Device, Docs Say

Posted 24 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 24, 2016 – Dying patients with an implantable heart defibrillator don't know the device can be turned off so that it doesn't give them painful shocks during their last days of life, researchers report. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are surgically implanted in people with certain heart conditions. They deliver a shock to restore normal heart rhythm when they detect a potentially deadly abnormal rhythm. Doctors are encouraged to inform patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator about the benefits of deactivating the device when they are near death. But research shows that up to 31 percent of people with an ICD receive shocks in their final days. Two new studies provide further proof that many doctors aren't following the Heart Rhythm Society and European Society of Cardiology recommendations. A Spanish study of 243 patients with implantable ... Read more

Related support groups: Arrhythmia, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Bradyarrhythmia, Ventricular Fibrillation, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, Ventricular Arrhythmia, AV Heart Block, Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders, Atrial Tachycardia, Sinus Node Dysfunction, Paroxysmal Junctional Tachycardia, Premature Ventricular Depolarizations, Premature Atrial Depolarizations

Daily Caffeine Doesn't Seem to Jolt the Heart: Study

Posted 26 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 26, 2016 – There may be good news for coffee, tea and chocolate lovers: Regular caffeine consumption may not cause dangerous racing of the heart, a new study finds. The finding challenges current medical thinking, the study authors said. However, the health risks of heavy caffeine consumption requires additional research, the researchers added. "Clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent disturbances of the heart's cardiac rhythm should be reconsidered, as we may unnecessarily be discouraging consumption of items like chocolate, coffee and tea that might actually have cardiovascular benefits," said study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus. He is director of clinical research in the division of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Given our recent work demonstrating that extra heartbeats ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Caffeine, Tachyarrhythmia, Fioricet, Excedrin, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Alert, Ventricular Tachycardia, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Atrial Flutter, Cafergot, Bradyarrhythmia, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Esgic, Keep Going, Fiorinal with Codeine, Norgesic

Implanted Defibrillators Help Women as Much as Men: Study

Posted 12 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 12, 2016 – Among people with heart failure, implanted defibrillators benefit women as much as men, a new study finds. Previous research has shown that implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) help heart failure patients live longer. And current guidelines recommend that doctors consider adding the devices to standard treatment for all heart failure patients. However, women are less likely than men to receive an ICD, the study authors said. One reason may be that questions remained about whether the devices benefit women with heart failure. People with heart failure are at increased risk for heart rhythm problems. ICDs are placed under the skin of the chest and deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm when a potentially deadly abnormal rhythm is detected. The new study compared thousands of female and male heart failure patients with and without ICDs. ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Atrial Tachycardia, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Left Ventriculography

High 'Resting' Heart Rate Tied to Higher Odds of Early Death

Posted 23 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2015 – A rapid "resting" heartbeat might mean you have a higher risk of dying early, researchers suggest. "Higher resting heart rate is an independent predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular death," said lead researcher Dr. Dongfeng Zhang, of the department of epidemiology at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Shandong, China. Your resting heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats a minute. When you're seated or lying down and relaxed, a normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats a minute, according to the American Heart Association. Zhang's team analyzed 46 studies involving more than 2 million patients in all. Compared to people with the lowest resting heart rate, those with a resting heart rate of more than 80 beats a minute had a 45 percent greater risk of death from any cause, while people with a resting heart rate of 60 to 80 ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Tachycardia, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Ventricular Arrhythmia, Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Atrial Tachycardia, Abnormal Electrocardiogram, Paroxysmal Junctional Tachycardia

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