Dr Thomas Force, who teaches medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, has revealed that the cancer-fighting drug, Gleevec can also be a cause of heart failure in leukemia patients under treatment. Force urged the doctors to be aware of the fact that Gleevec could effect the heart. Novartis, on the other hand, supported a detailed research on the matter. Force said that 10 patients taking Gleevec at the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have developed the symptoms of heart failure The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Finnish Heart Foundation and the Paavo Nurmi Foundation supported the research.
Here is some good news for the cardiac patients as the European scientists have developed a ‘Smart’ Shirt to monitor the heart patients anywhere and anytime. The Smart shirt slots in stainless steel threads to record an electrocardiogram. The data is then transferred to the central monitoring centre via a cell phone network. The notion behind the Smart Shirt was to monitor the cardiac patents effectively at home also.
Most of the times, many heart patients are deprived of the heart transplants because of their age factor or critical conditions. The critically ill patients have a reason to smile now since FDA has given the Humanitarian Device Exemption approval for the AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart developed by the Abiomed Inc. The two pound AbioCor comprises an internal thoracic unit, an internal rechargeable battery, an internal miniaturized electronics package and an external battery pack. It has the capability to move the blood through the lungs and to the rest of the body continuously. The only criteria to go for an AbioCor transplant is the size of the chest so that it can hold the AbioCor.
Biotronik already holds the title of having the world’s only implant that is capable of sending the ECG data automatically in case of heart rhythm disorder. Now, it has announced the first implantations of its new Lumax VR-T and Lumax DR-T ICDs. The recently announced Lumax ICD features a defibrillator that is able to give life-saving electric shocks. And the good thing is that the Lumax ICD automatically sends the vital diagnostic data via the cellular phone network to the cardiologist. The Biotronics’s home monitoring technology can even transfer the data through an SMS, e-mail or fax to the physician if the patient is in critical conditions or the heart rhythm is not apt. The comapany hasn’t created a product page for its new series of ICDs.
Siemens has announced a new small intracardiac ultrasound catheter in order to ease the procedures in smaller patients. The new Catheter, Acuson AcuNav 8F is 33% smaller than that of the current AcuNav 10F so that the left heart applications in smaller patients could be carried out quite easily. Dr. Ziyad M. Hijazi, University of Chicago said: The size and flexibility of the new catheter were very impressive and provided us with improved visualization of defects with less trauma to the patients. With the 8F, I was able to get spectacular images of clinical significance with no problem at all. The AcuNav 8F catheter is at this time offered on the Sequoia ultrasound platforms, the Acuson CV70 cardiovascular system and the Acuson Cypress cardiovascular system.
Medtronic has received approval from the Europe’s CE Mark for its Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve developed for the congenital heart patients to treat pulmonary valve insufficiency. The new technique is one of its kind as it is non-surgical and there is no need to open the chest. The physicians can deliver the Melody Valve via catheters into the cardiovascular system by using Ensemble Transcatheter Delivery System. It fends off the need for a open-heart surgery, prevent any risk of bleeding and allows earlier intervention.
A clinical trial headed by a researcher from the University of Calgary has supported the use of a special bra from women who undergo heart surgery. The unique bra doesn’t have any metal clasps that might interfere with the X-rays and offers more compression that can be adjusted appropriately to the changing breast sizes that happens sometimes after the heart surgery. The special bra will ease the women from the sufferings after the sternotomy. Dr. Kathryn King, an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Population Health Investigator said: Women who wore the bra after surgery had a great deal less pain and discomfort in their breasts – such as numbness, tingling or shooting sensations – than those in the control group.
Imagine how painful it is for a thin tube with a camera sent from the groin to inside the heart. Imagine the risks involved; of the catheter rupturing or bruising any of the delicate blood vessels. Now think of a heart patient getting simply a less expensive X-ray done to know his heart. The total bill including hospitalization charges is huge in the invasive angiogram done now. MSNBC reports of the spat between radiologists and cardiologists who perform traditional angiograms. Doctors point out the risk from huge doses of radiation required for this new ‘super’ X-ray. What they do not say is that angiogram fatality is not uncommon. Bacterial invasion may infect the areas of insertion of the catheter while the doses of radiation for a one-time test patient will hardly be causing any cancerous mutation. The real issue here is not angiograms versus super X-rays. It is all about livelihoods and money. Let us consider some issues involved with this new technique: a) If this is the procedure of choice for detection of atherosclerosis; hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits, then who stands to gain monetarily? The radiologists. So we must be weary of all possible reports praising this diagnostic procedure. Trials were funded in this case by Toshiba Medical Systems. The main investigator was Dr. Julie Miller of Johns Hopkins University. So Toshiba has much in stake for the research to fail. b) Private medical insurers have strong links with doctors. Thus their policy-judgments are based on the feedbacks they receive from doctors. Now these insurers are scared that having these X-rays may create a radiation epidemic. Hence they are now reluctant to compensate patients undergoing this procure. But whose is the real voice? It is of the organized medical fraternity’s in fear of losing patients. c) And we have to be very weary of extra-molecular medical research. Whereas there are strict FDA guidelines for the introduction of new molecules to the public, here is no such strict measure for technical appliances being used in medicine. So we have to wait before we substitute a painless alternative to cardio-vascular compromised patients. Dr. Michael Lauer of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has recently asked US doctors not use the procedure till its safety is proven once for all. d) The procedure has some limitations. For example, proper pictures in patients with age-related blood vessels’ calcification become difficult. One has to again go back to traditional surgery. This means double costs. And crucially the new system is not fool-proof. An angiogram reveals the whole picture. No one has to do anything further after an angiogram. It is better to let this procedure develop. Let further research prove no involved carcinogenicity or the need for another diagnostic procedure after getting this X-ray done. Then we will be truly rid of angiograms. Via: MSNBC Image: CCM
Imagine if your T-shirt or blouse were intelligent enough to detect the condition of your heart and also conveys the same to your doctor without u even knowing that. This might sound like lines from a popular science fiction but researchers at University of Arkansas have developed a fabric that will help turning this fiction into reality one day. The technology is based around an organic semiconductor called Pentacene and an electrical instrument known as Wheatstone bridge. A thin-film transistor and an electrical resistance are used to monitor body temperature and respiration respectively. In addition, device can be coupled with the wireless transmitters and embedded in fabrics of your garments to send details to your medical practitioner. Future development of technology will enable doctors to monitor their patients from a remote location and to reach to them in emergency situations.