SKMC celebrates implantation of its 1000th cardiac device

SKMC celebrates implantation of its 1000th cardiac device

In addition to implantation of devices, around half of the cardiac EP service’s procedures at SKMC are catheter ablations.



By Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 19 Mar 2014, 1:39 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:57 PM

Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) recently celebrated the implantation of its 1000th cardiac device.

The patient, a 49-year-old female executive whose irregular heartbeat rate was limiting her quality of life, received an implant of cardiac resynchronisation therapy defibrillator, which is a device to improve symptoms of a heart failure as well as protect against sudden death.

The heart has its own internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, and cardiac electrophysiology (EP) is a subspecialty within cardiology that focuses on heart rhythm conditions - including speed and regularity of its beats.

Consequences of irregular beating hearts can range from fainting through to sudden death, according to Dr Alawi Alsheikh Ali , Chairperson of Cardiac Sciences at SKMC and consultant electrophysiologist.

“There is no medicine that can make the heart beat faster, so the only solution is to implant a device that can help regulate and pace the heart,” Dr Alsheikh Ali said.

“Pacemakers are like sophisticated mini computers, only a little larger than a one dirham coin, which sit under the skin and connect to the heart through one of the veins in the shoulder. A basic pacemaker is programmed not to allow the heart drop below a certain heart rate, and prevents fainting episodes, via small electrical impulses,” he added. “This milestone is an extremely important one, and we are proud to have SKMC offer the only such service in the country to provide this specialist care,” Dr Alsheikh Ali said.

In addition to pacemakers, the EP programme at SKMC implants defibrillators to help prevent life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia, which prevents the heart from pumping blood well and can cause instant death. An implantable defibrillator has wires with electrodes that connect to the heart’s chambers, and monitor the heart’s rhythm. If it detects a life-threatening rhythm in the ventricles, it will use electrical pulses to shock the heart into a normal rhythm, and can prevent sudden death according to Dr Omer Elhag, consultant electrophysiologist at SKMC and head of the cardiac EP service.

In addition to implantation of devices, around half of the cardiac EP service’s procedures at SKMC are catheter ablations. During ablation, a doctor inserts a catheter into the heart, and a special machine delivers energy through the catheter to tiny areas of the heart muscle that cause abnormal heart rhythm, which ‘disconnects’ the pathway of the abnormal rhythm. Catheter ablation generally has very high cure rate for cardiac arrhythmias, according to Dr Alsheikh Ali .

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