Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Only a heartbeat away from a long, healthy life (Canada)
"Shawn and Shane Mamer don't worry anymore that they'll die if their hearts start skipping a beat. Because when it happens - and it will, says their cardiologist - a shock five to 12 seconds later will get their hearts beating properly again. The 31-year-old identical twins, dental students from Saskatoon who inherited a deadly heart condition, had defibrillators implanted in their chests last week at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Canada. It's one of the ways doctors are reducing the number of seemingly healthy and fit young men who suddenly drop dead, usually while playing an explosive competitive sport such as hockey or football. A lot of people black out before they get the jolt of electricity from an implanted defibrillator, the shock of which is very painful, says Dr. Evan Lockwood, 'but feeling a shock is a good thing because it's a sign you're still alive.' The incidence of all sudden cardiac deaths is estimated to range from one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 people. One of the most common reasons for these tragic deaths is an undiagnosed genetic heart condition"