Implant detects heart attack early


First implant used to warn of heart attacks in Europe

New implant warns of an impending heart attack. For the first time in Europe, the University Heart Center (UZH) in Freiburg implanted "patients with a device that is able to recognize a heart attack before the first symptoms," reports the Freiburg University Hospital in a current press release.

According to the hospital, around 250,000 patients suffer a so-called acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) each year, with many already dying before they even reach a hospital. Experts estimate that up to 95 percent of patients could survive their heart attack if they were admitted to a hospital or cardiac catheterization laboratory in good time. "The problem is that many patients experience no symptoms or ignore them for too long," said the Freiburg University Hospital. The implant, now used for the first time in Europe with the promising name "Guardian", is intended to warn those affected early about an impending heart attack.

New implant detects insufficient blood flow to the heart The Deputy Medical Director of the Clinic for Cardiology and Angiology I at UHZ, Professor Dr. Dr. Manfred Zehnder explained: “Our goal is to shorten the time from the first appearance of symptoms to the start of medical care in order to be able to intervene in time - with Guardian we can achieve this goal. ”According to the clinic, the tiny device is“ inserted into the chest like a pacemaker and is connected to the heart via a thin wire. ”In this way,“ Guardian ”is capable of poor blood flow to the heart recognized early. The patients are then given a visual and acoustic warning. This is particularly important for patients who do not experience any of the typical symptoms such as heart pain, chest pain, pressure and tightness or stinging in the chest. Due to the early warning, the narrowed or closed coronary arteries can be reopened in time in a cardiac catheter laboratory so that there is no heart attack, reports the Freiburg University Hospital.

Implant to warn of heart attacks a success story In cooperation with several clinics in the USA, the working group led by Professor Zehnder played a key role in the development of the "Guardian". Accordingly, the Freiburg cardiologist was "proud that after ten years of further developing a concept that was born in Freiburg, we were now able to successfully implant the device at this location for the first two patients in Europe." In his opinion, the "Guardian" - Implant “a success story that will be of great importance in the future for the treatment of patients at risk of an infarction.” The device is intended to benefit patients in the future who are particularly at risk of vascular occlusion or who have no or only atypical symptoms during the first heart attack Have shown symptoms. It is also intended to be used in patients "who would very likely not survive another heart attack due to premature damage to the heart," reports the Freiburg University Hospital.

New implant has already proven itself Since the device is currently still being tested, the implantation may “only be carried out under strictly controlled conditions specified by the American FDA,” the university hospital said. So far, “Guardian” can only be used in a controlled scientific study for selected patients who particularly benefit from it. The ongoing study involves 80 treatment centers in the United States where the implant has been used to nearly 500 patients. The device has already proven itself in more than 20 cases and a heart attack could be prevented by a corresponding early intervention, according to the Freiburg University Hospital. (fp)

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Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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