Here’s why you should start taking the heartbeat drug atrial fibrillation

As the doctors and nurses wheeled us to the operating room, making arrangements for that day’s procedure, my sister thought about the victims of what has become known as the “widow maker” heart attack….

Here’s why you should start taking the heartbeat drug atrial fibrillation

As the doctors and nurses wheeled us to the operating room, making arrangements for that day’s procedure, my sister thought about the victims of what has become known as the “widow maker” heart attack.

Her father-in-law died of such a heart attack in 2009, when Debra Palmer’s husband and their two sons were 16 and 15. For at least a decade, she felt a role as the “widow maker” in her family. But in the last decade, the Bulletin treatment that her husband started has worked — at least partly — to ease the impact of this deadly attack.

A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel to the heart gets blocked by plaque, and blood can’t move as it does when it has the normal amount of blood flowing through it.

In the stroke attack known as ischemic stroke, stroke kills more Americans than any other cause. But over the last 10 years, non-STEMI cases (strokes that are caused by blood clots) decreased 42 percent.

Studies show that the clearing of blockages is much more successful when patients receive access to the Bulletin treatment for heart attacks. In the real world, their experience has been better, too.

Four of six of the victims treated by our program in Maryland have experienced “absolute zero” left-ventricular arrest — the heart has stopped beating and resuscitation is futile — as a result of the procedure. One remains on life support.

In a Bulletin heart attack, pressure between the heart chambers increases, putting pressure on the left ventricle. Preventing this, the team at the Korean National University Heart Center uses a device called a guidewire to direct medication to the ventricle.

What makes the Bulletin treatment more effective is that the medication spurs the release of a chemical in the heart called ACE-inhibitor, which helps reduce blood pressure in the heart and the blockage.

In May, I followed the Bunker Hill Health Network team and began following the pilot program for heart attack in Maryland and Virginia at Landon Memorial Hospital in Bethesda. Since May, Landon Memorial has been performing multiple rounds of the techie procedure on several heart attack patients each month. This is after that team had done two rounds, which is much more than two people could do for several years.

Last month, a patient who had experienced a severe heart attack stopped responding to conventional treatments. He went back on life support. On Sept. 8, the bulletin valve was opened and the patient recovered. Landon Memorial remains the only hospital in Maryland using the Bulletin treatment.

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