Cardiac arrest survivor receives latest defibrillator technology

East Kent Cardiologist, Dr James Rosengarten, has led an EKHUFT first by implanting a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator, or SICD.

An ICD is a small device which can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms. The use of ICDs has prolonged hundreds of thousands of lives and when first introduced in the 1980s, they were implanted in the abdomen. Later came the transvenous ICD, which is implanted in the shoulder area.

The less invasive SICD is the newest type of ICD device, which delivers protection without touching the heart.

This month, Dr Rosengarten used this technology for the first time on a 30-year-old cardiac arrest survivor.

A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood round your body, commonly because of a problem with electrical signals in your heart. When your heart stops pumping blood, your brain is starved of oxygen. This causes you to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

This can be fatal if not treated quickly, and timely intervention with an external defibrillator can be lifesaving. Thanks to the work of SECAMB, more and more survivors make it to hospital. To stand the best chance of no future cardiac arrests, ICD’s are sometimes fitted. Whilst the ICD service has been up and running for over a decade in east Kent, the new SICD technology has not previously been available locally.

Dr Rosengarten said: “the SICD is a fantastic piece of technology, approved by NICE for use in appropriate patients.

“In the past, patients have had to travel to London to have this done, but I’m delighted to use my skills and training to implant the first device here.”

The all site cardiology team continues to be a regional leader in delivering the best care for residents of East Kent, developing more and more local services. The last few years have seen the delivery of cardiac MRI scans and interventional electrophysiology as well the expansion of the regional heart attack service.