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Why do arrhythmias matter?

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Why do arrhythmias matter?

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Sukumvit Hospital employs advanced technology to minimise the risk of stroke as a result of irregular heartbeat.

A dangerous turn of events

Cardiac arrhythmias (also known as irregular heartbeat) is a group of conditions that describe the unusual pacing of an individual’s heart rate. They are categorised into slow heartbeat (bradycardia); fast heartbeat (tachycardia) and irregular heartbeats that are a combination of slow and fast can be described as a flutter or fibrillation. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to several complications including heart failure and cardiac arrest. They can also cause life-threatening strokes, which occur when the heart does not pump blood out efficiently, leading to it pooling and forming clots that can then travel to the brain. This unfortunate sequence of events happened to a 60-year old patient named Khun Sakolthan who had been taking controlled medication to regulate his heartbeat for over 10 years. He was under the impression he was in good health up until the day of his stroke, which unfortunately happened when his wife was out of the house running errands.

Cardiac arrhythmias (also known as irregular heartbeat) is a group of conditions that describe the unusual pacing of an individual’s heart rate. They are categorised into slow heartbeat (bradycardia); fast heartbeat (tachycardia) and irregular heartbeats that are a combination of slow and fast can be described as a flutter or fibrillation. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to several complications including heart failure and cardiac arrest. They can also cause life-threatening strokes, which occur when the heart does not pump blood out efficiently, leading to it pooling and forming clots that can then travel to the brain. This unfortunate sequence of events happened to a 60-year old patient named Khun Sakolthan who had been taking controlled medication to regulate his heartbeat for over 10 years. He was under the impression he was in good health up until the day of his stroke, which unfortunately happened when his wife was out of the house running errands.

Khun Sakolthan described how he had ordered food to be delivered when he felt a sudden onset of dizziness coupled with a stabbing pain in his head. He was afraid he would collapse so he sat down. Luckily, before his condition worsened, the food delivery man arrived and was able to contact building personnel and his wife so he could be transported to Sukumvit Hospital. After an explanation from his wife Khun Sutthanya about what occurred, doctors put the patient through a brain examination using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that showed that he had blood clots in his brain. He then had to choose between a surgical procedure or an alternative that allows doctors to suck out the blood clots without the need for surgery. He picked the latter, and medical professionals at Sukumvit Hospital were able to administer treatment immediately, helping him evade further complications.

Better to be safe than sorry

But what if a patient is not as lucky as Khun Sakolthan? If someone were to suffer the same sudden onset symptoms of a stroke when they were alone, there is a high chance the individual would be unconscious for hours. This increases the risk of developing blood deficiency in the brain leading to disability or even death. Therefore, it is crucial to use our knowledge of cardiac arrhythmias to our advantage, as they can be a telling sign of complications that might arise in the future.

Dr. Nivit Kalra, cardiology specialist at Sukumvit Hospital who examined and treated Khun Sakolthan said “patients who suffer from stroke must first identify its cause so that treatment can be administered efficiently. In this case, we recognised that the patient was already taking medication to regulate his rapid heart rate. However, after recordings taken with an electrocardiogram (a device worn over 24 hours that records heart rate) we identified that his heart beat had instances of rapid ventricular response and slow ventricular response. In patients with AF (heart rate that is both too fast and too slow at times) treatment can be complicated, as patients can take medication to combat rapid heart rate but this increases the risk of bradycardia, a very slow heartbeat of only 20-30 beats per minute, when the heart rate slows down.”

Read more at https://expatlifeinthailand.com/health-and-beauty/why-do-arrhythmias-matter/

Source: Expat Life Thailand/

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