Device Shocks Heart Patients Near Attack - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Device Shocks Heart Patients Near Attack

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - While being shocked may not sound appealing to you, it is saving lives in the Panhandle.

Dr. Coty Jewell, who works at the Cardiology Center of Amarillo,  was the first cardiologist to implant the tiny defibrillator.  It detects when a patient is about to have a heart attack.

Dr. Jewell says, "when they have a fast rhythm that's potentially fatal, the device would shock their heart to terminate the rhythm."

By terminating the rhythm, it makes the heart muscles work as they should.  The device also sends a message to a monitoring system which ends up at the doctor's office.

One thousand patients at the cardiology center have the device.  It is reserved for those patients whose hearts are in serious trouble.

Dr. Jewell says, "a normal heart would squeeze and empty about 60 percent of blood flow. In these patients who are at the highest risk, it would be pump functions of under 35 percent."

Those patients tell him the device sort of puts them at ease.

He says, "patients feel comfortable with this. This is something...they were at risk for sudden death and in some cases they feel more at peace now with that."

Peace, sometimes in the form of a shock.

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