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Interesting article in today's New York Times

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  • Interesting article in today's New York Times

    April 20, 2004
    In a High-Tech World, Pacemaker Risks Rise
    By ANAHAD O'CONNOR

    As high-tech gadgets and devices proliferate, people who use pacemakers
    are
    finding themselves in a world that is increasingly difficult to
    navigate.

    Once concentrated in the workplace, devices that can disrupt pacemaker
    function are now much harder to avoid. Metal detectors hidden in store
    entrances and exits, for example, can be impossible to spot. Magnetic
    resonance imaging techniques, often considered a danger to those with
    pacemakers or implanted defibrillators, have become a common diagnostic
    procedure.

    But sometimes, doctors have found, the culprit can even be something
    that
    appears relatively innocuous. In a letter to The New England Journal of
    Medicine on Thursday, three Swiss doctors reported the case of a
    52-year-old
    man with a pacemaker who was experiencing sporadic bouts of dizziness.

    The doctors were puzzled. But a detailed history revealed that the
    patient
    had been using a little-known alternative medicine device called a
    Zapper,
    which generated electrical impulses when held in both hands. Each time
    the
    patient tried to use it, the doctors said, his pacemaker would stop
    working
    and start up again only when the man fainted and dropped the device.

    "This went on for several months," said Dr. Osmund Bertel, a
    cardiologist at
    Triemli Hospital in Zurich and one of the authors of the letter. "The
    modern
    environment is full of these things that people don't realize can
    interfere
    with their pacemakers. But it's important to be aware of them."

    Another little-known menace to people with pacemakers, some doctors
    say, is
    a popular treatment for pain relief called PENS, or percutaneous
    electrical
    nerve stimulation. Often used for lower back pain, the treatment, which
    is
    akin to acupuncture with electric current, has been shown to affect
    some
    pacemakers, said Dr. Sergio Pinski, a cardiologist at the Cleveland
    Clinic
    in Weston, Fla.

    "Pretty much any device that delivers current to the body has the
    potential
    to cause problems," Dr. Pinski said.

    More than two million Americans have permanent implanted pacemakers.
    Some of
    the more traditional threats to the devices, experts say, can be safe
    if
    precautions are followed. Cellphones, for example, should not be
    carried in
    the breast pocket or held to the ear closest to the pacemaker.

    Metal detectors can be safe as long as the patient walks through
    without
    lingering.

    "The interference is very transient," Dr. Pinski said.

    M.R.I. machines, usually considered off limits because they operate on
    powerful magnets, can also be safe in some instances, new research
    suggests.

    In a study published in The Journal of the American College of
    Cardiology on
    April 7, doctors who monitored 54 patients with pacemakers as they
    underwent
    M.R.I.'s found that they almost always emerged relatively unscathed.
    But the
    researchers cautioned that doctors should follow a number of safety
    guidelines in cases where a patient with a pacemaker needs an M.R.I.

    "First, the patient needs to understand that there are small risks
    involved," said Dr. Edward T. Martin, director of the cardiovascular
    M.R.I.
    center at the Oklahoma Heart Institute and lead author of the study.
    "There
    should also be a cardiologist and someone who is trained in advanced
    cardiac
    life support present."

    In case something does go wrong, he said, a physician who knows how to
    program or adjust a pacemaker should be nearby. It is also a good idea
    to
    monitor patients' heartbeats with a heart rhythm strip, and to speak
    with
    them while they are in the scanner, Dr. Martin said.

    "It's a controversial topic, but I think we've shown that if the
    patient
    must have an M.R.I. and another imaging technique can't be used,
    there's an
    acceptable benefit-to-risk profile here," he added.
    Daughter of Father with HCM
    Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
    Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
    ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
    Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.

  • #2
    Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

    Too bad this article was not publisized in every paper across the nation and my surgeon who tried to recently kill me with a hyfercator might have seen it . I think I'll send him a copy. Dr. Udelson at NEMC recently told me about the MRI's done on devise patients that were being done in Germany. He said at this time I wouldn't want one if I had a devise. He agrees technology will get around the risky parts in the future and MRI's will be in the future to HCMER"s what ECHO's are today.
    Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
    Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
    Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
    SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
    [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
    Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
    Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
    Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

      what is a hyfercator? i'm glad you survived it, whatever it is!!!!

      S

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

        Okay, let me know if i got this straight... a 52 year-old man with a known heart problem and a pacemaker decides to use this device called a Zapper. Each and every time he uses the device, he gets dizzy and passes out... and yet continues to use the device for 'several months'? Gosh, that certainly is a big baffling mystery there... no wonder his doctors were so puzzled.
        "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

          Notice, it says after a "detailed history". Wonder how many visits the guy had to the doc before someone either asked for or listened to the "detailed history". Yes Jim, I have to agree . Linda

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

            The Zapper man just cracked me up is all... his docs didn't have a lot of grey matter to work with there.

            "Hmmm... wonder why i keep passing out? Maybe the Zapper will help... let me try that again". ZZZZZAPPP!!! "Hmmmm... i seem to have passed out again... wonder why that happened? Maybe i should try that Zapper device again." ZZZZAPPP!!!

            Good grief... even Pavlov's dogs got it quicker.
            "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

              Jim

              You had me laughing sooo hard, I was picturing the guy sitting there getting zapped over and over again and passing out everytime, sounds like he had very little grey matter to start with, by the way how are you doing these days, Take Care

              Shirley
              Diagnosed 2003
              Myectomy 2-23-2004
              Husband: Ken
              Son: John diagnosed 2004
              Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

              Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                Zapp-I-de-do-da, what a wonderful day. WOOooe. Now what did I want to do? Oh yeah.
                Zapp-I-de-do-da, what a wonderful day. WOOooe

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                  I'm trying to be understanding here, he was probably using it for electrostimulation perhaps for nerve damade as with neuropathy or carpal tunnel syndrome. In this country I think we have a more progressive approach and we here at the HCMA board check a lot of stuff out. It is unfortunate when something as simplistic as it appears to us gets overlooked. I think that there are lot's of people out there walking around who have absolutely no clue what they can and cannot expose themselves to if they have a devise. Those of us who are enlightened are the lucky ones. As I already stated a doctor assumed he knew what was and was not harmfull to me and he was wrong. Sarah, a hyfercator is an electric thermal heat generating tool used like a cauterization tool to stop bleeding.
                  Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                  Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                  Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                  SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                  [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                  Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                  Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                  Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                    Originally posted by Pam Alexson
                    Sarah, a hyfercator is an electric thermal heat generating tool used like a cauterization tool to stop bleeding.
                    I guess that because Pam has an iron constitution the doctor assumed he could use a soldering iron on her. Actually, it's a pretty good tool for those whom it can be used on. Here is part of a sales write-up.

                    ® The Hyfrecator°2000 lets you perform a wide variety of desiccation, fulguration and coagulation office procedures with a multitude of applications in such diverse specialities as: · Dermatology · Ophthalmology· Plastic Surgery · Urology· Proctology · Otolaryngology· Gynecology · Dental and Oral Surgery. The Hyfrecator°2000 includes a remote control reusable switching pencil.

                    If any of you out there are contemplating any of the procedures mentioned above and you have an implanted devise, you might want to check out the doctor's cauterization plans.
                    Burt

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                      OK - I have a question...what the heck is a Zapper anyway!??????

                      This goes to prove you need to be aware of your environment 24/7.

                      Take care ..oh and stay away from those "Zappers"..whatever they are

                      Lisa
                      Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
                      YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

                      Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
                      lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
                      Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
                      Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
                      Currently not obstructed
                      Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                        Burt you are so funny! I got a big laugh from you and Jim. Pam
                        Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                        Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                        Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                        SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                        [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                        Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                        Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                        Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                          Lisa,
                          Some things are meant to keep you on your toes. Obviously a zapper is meant to keep you flat on the floor. It’s one of those wonderful alternative medicine devises that people of superior intelligence get suckered into.

                          Sounds like it sends a current from one hand through your body to your other hand – probably for nerve stimulation, or arthritis, or to make your hair curly, or who knows what all.
                          Burt

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                            I've seen these Zapper thingys, albeit in Japan (the land of technology.) The one I saw had 2 small pads, about an inch square, and it produced electrical stimulation to "massage" your muscles. Basically it made the muscles contract and release in coordination with the electrical impulses. Of course, none of us who were looking at the darn thing had any implanted devices....

                            Reenie
                            Reenie

                            ****************
                            Husband has HCM.
                            3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Interesting article in today's New York Times

                              You know the first thing i thought of was Ghost Busters one where he was suposed to be a professer and shocking people, that's why i laughed, i can't think of his name and he is a great comedian, help me out guys

                              Shirley
                              Diagnosed 2003
                              Myectomy 2-23-2004
                              Husband: Ken
                              Son: John diagnosed 2004
                              Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

                              Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9

                              Comment

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