Medical Monday - Internal Pacemakers and Defibrillators

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 9:29 AM EST
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Often when discussing heart health, the focus is placed on preventing heart issues before they become a problem, but what can be done once it’s too late? NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard finds out in this weeks Medical Monday.

“Pretty much north of Bangor we’re the only cardiac catheterization laboratory.”

Doctor Rodolfo Aldir is the Medical Director of Cardiology for Northern Light AR Gould. He says the ability to provide necessary treatments to Aroostook County residents with poor cardiac muscles right in Presque Isle is key.

“We put in pacemakers and defibrillators, also biventricular pacemakers and defibrillators. Hopefully the patients don’t have to travel as far, here at AR Gould we’re trying to expand as far as we can with regards to all of their cardiovascular needs.”

Doctor Aldir goes on to explain a special triple wire pacemaker system that is used in a specific medial treatment.

“We have to place a pace maker in the top, pacemaker on the right side in the bottom and one of the backside of the left heart and what we do is we call that Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.”

Doctor Aldir says this treatment is used for patients who have weak heart muscles, as well as electrical problems in the heart that cause the different sections of the heart to beat out of sync.

“You can develop an arrhythmia, and the most common would be something called atrial fibrillation. The top chambers of the heart are called the atria, and that’s where the pacemaker of the heart is. So you have this boom-boom, boom-boom. But every once and a while there can be a problem.”

Aldir says an extra beat, or irritation can occur in the top chamber of the heart, leaving the bottom chamber confused and in need of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy.

“By getting these in the right place were able to resynchronize using the pacemaker and the technology that’s there, that gives us the opportunity in order to have it behave as physiological as possible.”

For those with bad heart muscles that are at risk of sudden cardiac death, there are internal defibrillators. Aldir says these defibrillators function the same as defibrillators you may find in public buildings, but are implanted in the chest. They restart the heart nearly automatically.

“We’ve been able to prove over many many years that it is better to have a defibrillator on the inside than one on the outside.”

If you have questions or concerns about your heart health, you are encouraged to reach out to your primary care physician.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8