Implanted Defibrillators - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Implanted Defibrillators

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More and more companies are buying external defibrillators. They talk you through how to shock someone's heart that has gone into sudden cardiac death. But there are also defibrillators you can implant into a high risk patient.

And now that technology has taken another step forward.

“Michael how are you?”

“Good, good.”

“It's been a month since we've seen you, since we did the procedure?”


Mike Sphar is getting a unique check up by Dr. Ram Challapalli. He recently received a new device that could save his life in the event of sudden cardiac death.

“The heart works, it's not struggling, but if you pushed it any further, I'd be dead.”

So Dr. Challapalli surgically implanted a defibrillator into mike but this one is new and improved. Typically, the lead is threaded up through a vein and screwed into the heart muscle. But the subcutaneous ICD doesn't touch the heart at all.

“This is the pulse generator, the computer, it's got all the brains. You implant it in the lateral wall just like so. This is the lead and it's tunneled in the subcutaneous tissue so it's not in the vein and it makes this type of shape.”

Doctors say this system has less risk of heart, vascular and systemic infection. And clinical trail data shows it's just as effective as traditional implantable defibrillators.

Mike doesn't think it will ever go off but his wife Monica likes the added insurance it brings especially now that they own a small vineyard in California.

“That was for my wife. She loves grapes. We've tried growing them in Nevada. We're not very good at it.  So we decided to bite the bullet and buy a real vineyard down there.”

“So a guy with a weak heart and defibrillator is now working a farm?”

“That's right!”
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