Washington Adventist Hospital Physician Implants Revolutionary New Heart Device - Adventist HealthCare

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News Release

Media Contact: Tom Grant

Published on October 17, 2005

Press Release

Washington Adventist Hospital Physician Implants Revolutionary New Heart Device

Takoma Park, MD  - Sung W. Lee, MD, a physician specializing in electrophysiology at Washington Adventist Hospital, has implanted a new heart device that can prevent atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most commonly diagnosed sustained heart rhythm problem in America, affecting 2.2 million people each year. Symptoms include heart palpitations or sensation of very rapid heartbeat, a fluttering sensation in the chest, light-headedness and shortness of breath. Left untreated, AF doubles the risk of death, increases the risk of stroke, and may cause congestive heart failure.

The new, implantable device is a wire, called a pacing lead, that connects a patient's heart to an implanted pacemaker. A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated electronic device that is inserted under the skin to help the heart beat regularly and at an appropriate rate. The implanted lead helps to regulate the patient's heartbeat by detecting and transmitting electrical signals from the heart to the attached pacemaker. The pacemaker then sends electrical signals through the lead to the heart at a specific rate, and the heart responds to the electrical signals by beating at the same, regulated rate.

Unlike AF treatments of the past, which required lengthy hospital stays and extended recovery periods, implantation of the new device is performed through a minimally-invasive procedure through an incision in the upper chest. Patients can be discharged from the hospital on the same day, and may resume normal activity within few days.

Said Dr. Lee, "Through implanting the pacemaker and pacing leads in selective sites, patients can expect to have less frequent episodes of atrial fibrillation, and significantly improve their symptoms. I am excited to help bring this new technology to patients in the Washington, D.C. area."

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