Each year, more than a million Americans suffer from heart attacks.
Hundreds of thousands die before ever getting to a hospital, and many patients have no warning signs. But that could change. Correspondent Teri Okita shows us an on-going experimental trial that uses an implant to "page" heart patients when they've got a problem.
59-year-old Bruce Fisher had quintuple bypass surgery just a few weeks ago.
He's now back in the operating room, undergoing an experimental surgery that could prevent future heart attacks.
Using a wire, surgeons attach this implant about the size of a
pacemaker to fisher's heart. The device monitors the heart's "e-k-g" or
electrical activity, looking for changes that occur before a heart attack.
It’s kind of like an on-star warning device.
When EKG changes are detected, the implant vibrates in the patent's
chest and pages them to either call their doctor or head immediately to the emergency room.
The device and pager then send EKG information to a computer advising the doctor of the patent's condition.
Like many, fisher had no idea his heart was failing. He was healthy,
active, enjoying retirement, and had no symptoms or warning signs.
These are people that don't have the natural responses that regular people have. They don't get chest pains or chest tightness.
The implants maker started the clinical trials after hearing from
heart patients who were worried about having another attack.
It can be debilitating where you don't want to leave your home. You don't want to be far away from your doctor's office. So a system like this can provide peace of mind.
Doctors say it is promising technology. For Bruce Fisher, it could be the promise of a better future.
Teri Okita, CBS news, Long Beach, California.>