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Health Beat: Bringing hearts back to life — a new improved defibrillator

Bringing hearts back to life — a new improved defibrillator

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest.

"I have two birthdays now: the day I was born, and the day I was reborn," Robinson said.

CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive, and now a newly FDA-approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.

Unlike traditional ICDs, the new system uses a single lead with sensors to detect changes in the top chamber of the heart.

Dr. Antony Chu, director of complex ablation and arrhythmia services section in the division of cardiology at the Rhode Island and Miriam Hospital, said the technology does the job of two leads, and allows physicians to monitor for atrial conditions, such as A-fib.

"The biggest benefit is that the defibrillator gets much more electrical information about what's happening to the heart so the decision making process that it undergoes is much more accurate," said Chu, the former director of atrial fibrillation at Reading Hospital.

That helps minimize the chance of someone getting shocked for the wrong reason. Plus, the one lead reduces the patient's exposure to radiation and decreases procedure time.

Follow-up visits are important, but the ICD also allows for home monitoring.

Wherever there is cellular coverage, Robinson's ICD can be monitored by a special device anywhere in the world to monitor the device status.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary and an in-depth interview with the doctor

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Allentown, PA 18102


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