Confederate to Check Pacemakers by Phone
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Confederate to Check Pacemakers by Phone By Margaret Martin Times Medical Writer Long distance electrocardiogram (EKG) tests for Confederate Memorial Medical Center pacemaker patients will be available soon, according to Dr. Stephen P. Glasser, cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Louisiana State University Medical School at Shreveport. The new equipment means that patients wearing pacemakers can have their batteries tested weekly at health facilities near their homes, and recorded at Confederate. Their trips to the Shreveport hospital will be much less frequent. Glasser discussed three types of equipment being used in his department during an interview this week. Pacemaker patients are people who have a problem with the electrical circuitry of the heart; a problem which causes the heart beat to slow down. The pacemaker, implanted under the Dr. Stephen P. Glasser, Cardiologist . . . with ecbocardiogram, latest in heart diagnosis skin and connected to the heart through a vein, gives the heart a regular, steady beat through electrical impulses. The battery is set from 68 to 72 beats per minute, Glasser said. But the pacer's battery wears out after a time, and must be replaced during a minor surgical procedure. Originally pacemaker batteries were automatically replaced after two years, but the newer ones usually last from three to five years, Glasser said. But now, instead of waiting until the pacemaker has slowed down or stopped, Glasser can monitor the pacemaker battery every week. "We can start seeing a trend of a slower rate, and call the patient in," he explained. Equipment involved is a receiving unit located at Confederate and a portable unit for the patient. (The portable unit weighs six pounds and includes electrodes to strap under the armpits or at the wrist, and telephone equipment.) The patient simply plugs in the telephone, dials a number and has his EKG recorded. The machine records the heart rate and beats per minute, and the heart rate to a thousandth of a second. Locations Told The portable units will be set up in area health facilities. Initially, Confederate is purchasing three of the portable units. They will be placed at Coushatta, the Ruston area and in Minden. Selection was made on the basis of location of the 50 pacemaker patients around the state. The receiving unit costs $2,100 and each portable one $395, ,but Confederate Director Dr. Rod M. Yeager pointed out that through Medicare reimbursement,, the equipment will pay for itself. The newest in diagnostic equipment at the hospital is an echocardiogram. It operates on ultra sound, and Glasser likened it to the way a bat senses an obstacle which he can't see. And he called it the greatest boon to diagnostic heart procedures since the EKG, although he emphasized that it does not take the place of the EKG or any other equipment. Like the EKG, the echocardiogram is painless. It works with one piece of wire held over the heart. The difference in the two lies in their functions. The EKG records the electrical activity of the heart; the echocardiogram takes a picture of the specific parts of the heart. For instance, the echocardiogram can depict — on a tiny television-like screen and a tape readout — a tumor on one of the heart's chambers, or a malfunction of one of the heart's valves. It can measure fluid around the heart, or show the size of the heart. Congenital heart conditions can also be diagnosed with it, according to Glasser. Because the procedure is performed on the outside of the body, an echocardiogram can be taken several times without risk to the patient. The procedure only takes a few minutes. Another specialized diagnostic procedure being used at Confederate and the medical school is the Stress Test Monitor System, a procedure which has the capability of revealing a cardiac abnormality while the patient is exercising. Probes Further It is useful, Glasser said, because sometimes people have chest pain, but no abnormalities which show up on a regular EKG test. The person taking the test is hooked up to an EKG machine and put on a treadmill, which can be set for various speeds and monitored. The speed of the treadmill is increased until the patient develops a rapid heart rate. The EKG is taken while the person is on the machine and usually up to five to 10 minutes after exercise. Any changes in the heart beat after exercise will usually mean further diagnostic tests are necessary, Glasser explained. And Glasser said, again, that the stress test is not the only diagnostic tool, nor does it take the place of any other equipment. "It is another test for evaluating the heart," he said. Testing The Stress Test Monitor System are Tommy Mook, medicine in-tern on the treadmill, and Dr. Stephen P. Glasser, cardiologist and as-sistant professor of medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine at Shreveport. The machine is used to test the heart beat while the person is exercising. Heart Beat Syncopated for Students Teaching medical students to interpret a heart beat is like conducting a symphony orchestra, said Dr. Stephen P. Glasser, cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine at Shreveport. Punching buttons on a teaching aid called a sound simulator at Confederate Memorial Medical Center, he demonstrated why. Records of a normal heart beat — amplified many times and seen on a television-like screen in front-had a regular rythm. As various mumurs and other abnormalities were ad-ded, there were extra sounds, extra beats, until the record hit a crescendo of melody. Then it's back to normal so students can hear the dif-ference!
|Title||Confederate to Check Pacemakers by Phone|
Glasser, Stephen P.
Confederate Memorial Medical Center (Shreveport, La.)
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Shreveport, La.)
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|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|