Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heart Attack - Implantable Warning Device

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Implantable Medical Device is Designed to Warn Patients of Impending Heart Attack

“EACH year, about 17.5 million lives are claimed by the world's largest killer - heart disease and stroke. In Malaysia, heart disease has been the number one killer for the past three decades. This statistic goes across the globe, making heart disease the most common cause of death worldwide” National Heart Association of Malaysia.

More than 30% of the one million heart attack victims in the United States each year die before seeking medical attention. Although widespread education campaigns describe the warning signs of a heart attack, the average time from the onset of symptoms to arrival at the hospital has remained at 3 hours for more than 10 years.

In their upcoming Ergonomics in Design article, “‘This is your heart speaking. Call 911,’” authors Mary Carol Day and Christopher Young study the benefits of the AngelMed Guardian®, an implantable medical device currently undergoing clinical trials that alerts users about a potential heart attack through a combination of vibrations, audible tones, and visual warnings.

What makes the device distinctive is this combination of alert modes. Although vibrotactile (vibrating) alarms are sometimes used to warn medical personnel in operating rooms or ICUs of an emergency, very little research has focused on their potential as a self-monitoring device for patients. Auditory alarms are provided with selected implantable heart defibrillators, but research indicates that some patients - particularly the elderly - are unable to hear the alarms.

“A vibrotactile alarm provided by the implanted device has two major advantages,” says Day. “First, the implanted device can’t be left behind like a portable device. Second, a vibrotactile alarm from the implanted device is more likely to be felt than an auditory alarm is to be heard because, for example, the patient may be wearing heavy clothing, has hearing loss, or is in a noisy environment.”

The device offers two levels of alarm urgency: A high-priority alarm indicates that the patient may be having a heart attack and should call 911, and a low-priority alarms indicates that a condition has been detected that requires a doctor visit within 48 hours. The alarms are provided by an implanted medical device, similar in size to a pacemaker, that is placed in the upper left chest, plus an external device, similar to a pager, that emits an auditory alarm and flashes a red or yellow warning light.

In a series of studies with older adults designed to test the device’s design and user-friendliness, participants were able to tell the difference between the low-priority and high-priority vibration patterns and respond appropriately. They also reported that they liked the vibrating alarms and the redundancy of the auditory, visual, and vibrotactile warnings.

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The above story is based on the April 13, 2012 news release materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest nonprofit individual-member, multidisciplinary scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,600 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. Watch science news stories about other HF/E topics at the HFES Web site. “Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering”

It will be some time before this product is available in Malaysia and we do not know if it will be affordable.

Living a healthier lifestyle can help to prevent heart disease. This includes the following:

Eliminating all tobacco products

Adhering to a heart-healthy diet

Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Maintain a healthy weight

Get regular health screenings

Get details at Mayo Clinic HERE

Top 10 Heart Attack Symptoms You Might Ignore

Heart attacks don’t always strike out of the blue — there are many symptoms we can watch for in the days and weeks leading up to an attack. But the symptoms may not be the ones we expect, so they may go unrecognized.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here, 10 heart symptoms you’re likely to ignore — and shouldn’t.

1. Indigestion or nausea. One of the most oft-overlooked signs of a heart attack is nausea and stomach pain.

2. Jaw, ear, neck, or shoulder pain. A sharp pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is an indicator of heart attack.

3. Sexual dysfunction. Having trouble achieving or keeping erections is common in men with coronary artery disease, but they may not make the connection.

4. Exhaustion or fatigue. A sense of crushing fatigue that lasts for several days is another sign of heart trouble that’s all too often overlooked or explained away.

5. Breathlessness and dizziness. When your heart isn’t getting enough blood, it also isn’t getting enough oxygen.

6. Leg swelling or pain. When the heart muscle isn’t functioning properly, waste products aren’t carried away from tissues by the blood, and the result can be edema, or swelling caused by fluid retention.

7. Sleeplessness, insomnia, and anxiety. Those who’ve had heart attacks often remember experiencing a sudden, unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month or weeks before their heart attack.

8. Flu-like symptoms. Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling light-headed, fatigued, and weak, leads some people to believe they’re coming down with the flu when, in fact, they’re having a heart attack.

9. Rapid-fire pulse or heart rate. One little-known symptom that sometimes predates a heart attack is known as ventricular tachycardia, more commonly described as rapid and irregular pulse and heart rate.

10. You just don’t feel like yourself. Heart attacks in older adults (especially those in their 80s and beyond, or in those who have dementia or multiple health conditions), can mimic many other conditions.

The above is just a summary of the research carried out by Melanie Haiken, senior editor. You are encouraged to read more about these 10 Heart Attacks Symptoms HERE

What You Must Do if You Think You Are Having a Heart Attack

Cough rhythymically? This Cough CPR has been debunked by Snopes

Here’s what WebMD advices:

Do not wait if you think you are having a heart attack. Getting help fast can save your life. Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Call 911. If you think you have had a heart attack but your symptoms have gone away, you still need to call your doctor right away. Link

If you think someone is having a heart attack,

Call 911 and Be Prepared to Help

Click HERE for a video presentation of Chest Compression-only CPR which you as a bystander can buy time until a paramedic with a defibrillator can jump-start the heart.

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