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Restoring the Heart's Rhythm: Cardiac Resynchronization

There are over five million people with heart failure in America today, and the pool gets larger by a half-million patients every year. Seventy-six-year-old George Spight is one of them.


With a condition diagnosed as arrhythmia, i.e., an irregularly beating heart, Spight experienced problems completing even the most normal day-to-day activities.


“I’d just be so tired,” said Spight. “I was short of breath. Sometimes I didn’t even have the strength to get to the bathroom.”


That’s when Spight turned to the Detroit Medical Center, where he was introduced to Dr. Mukarram Siddiqui, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital.


According to Dr. Siddiqui, “Heart failure in this country is at epidemic proportions. Millions of patients are developing weakness of the heart muscle. The symptoms manifest themselves as shortness of breath, difficulty in performing day-to-day activities, swelling of lower extremities and frequent hospital admissions because of fluid buildup inside the body.”


In Mr. Spight’s case, Dr. Siddiqui recommended a procedure called cardiac resynchronization—the implanting of a pacemaker with a defibrillator to regulate the beating of the heart. The pacemaker delivers electrical signals that help both sides of the heart to contract at the same time, thereby correcting the arrhythmia.


“The procedure requires a small incision under the collarbone,” says Dr. Siddiqui. “Then we enter a vein that connects to the heart and thread catheters, or wires, through it to the right ventricle. This way we synchronize both the lower portions of the heart, and we sense the stimulus arising in the right portion, or the atrium of the heart, and activate the two lower portions of the heart as nature intended.”


Meanwhile, the defibrillator activates whenever the patient has a dangerously fast heartbeat. It delivers an electrical impulse that basically shocks the heart back into normal rhythm.


Mr. Spight was able to leave the hospital the day after his procedure. Two weeks later he was back to his old self—without the shortness of breath and other symptoms. “Now I can get up to do whatever I want to do,” said Spight.


And what about his experience in the hospital? “The people were so nice at Sinai-Grace. The nurses were with me all day and night. They really put joy in my life,” he said.


Minimally invasive surgery to correct heart arrhythmia is available to all qualifying patients at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment at any DMC facility, call 1-888-DMC-2500.



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