Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Can A Bra Interact With A Pacemaker Or Defibrillator?

This comment [with a specific photo] was posted on my blog earlier:

“I was reading one of your old posts about magnets and I was wondering if a magnetic front closure on a bra would be a problem? There’s a warning on the label but I know part of that is just due to liability. What about this bra that has a magnet clasp on the front? If the magnet hits right in between the breasts would it be close enough to the device that it could interfere? Also does having a magnet that close change the settings or turn off a defibrillator/pacemaker early? I’m sure most doctors would say just wear another bra but this bra in particular is very comfy! I’ve tried it on but not worn it for extended periods of time. Luckily this is one of the only major complaints I’ve had about having heart disease and a [medical] device at such a young age.”

First, let me say thank you for asking this question. Who knew research could be so, er, entertaining! Second, this question reinforces why medical blogging is so great: You learn something new every day.

Now, as I slap myself back to a bit more professional stance, I’ll summarize by saying I think you’ll be okay to use such a bra with some precautions. Given the picture and the clasp’s location, this bra is more likely to interfere with the pacemaker of the partner you hug rather than yourself, provided your pacemaker was implanted over three centimeters from the magnetic clasp. Since most pacemakers and defibrillators are implanted just below the collar bone, the chance of the magenetic clasp to interfere with your device is remote. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Fast Does It Cause Unconsciousness?

How fast does sudden cardiac arrest cause unconsciousness? In just seconds.

Here’s a video of Salamanca soccer player Miguel Garcia’s episode. At the start of the video, Mr. Garcia can be seen in the background of the image kneeling behind the players in the foreground. Watch carefully as he stands after tying his shoes.

Although it is difficult to see, it appears an automatic external defibrillator arrives in about two minutes, though given the fact his shirt is still on as he’s taken from the field, we note the device is on his gurney as he’s hurried to a nearby ambulance. Reportedly, he survived this sudden cardiac arrest event:

This was NOT a heart attack, but rather a loss of cardiac function caused by a rapid, often disorganized heart rhythm disorder. Compare the relatively long time to resuscitation using an external automatic defibrillator verses the very rapid response afforded to Belgian soccer player Anthony Van Loo, whose internal defibrillator was already installed before he played as primary prevention of sudden death from right ventricular dysplasia.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

h/t: Electrophysiology Fellow blog

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Defibrillator Concept Fun For The Kitchen, Bad For The ER

This clever and funny Toast/e/r (“ER” included in the name) is by designer Shay Carmon. Note the QRS complex grill:

 

Concept page: Toast/e/r…

(via Gizmodo)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Dr. Insurance Broker

Call it sweet, delicious vindication. It was clinic day yesterday. No longer had I completed my rant in this blog about UnitedHealthcare’s program to require all cardiac elecrophysiologists to obtain a “notification number” before performing any pacemaker or defibrillator procedure, I discovered my letter from them dated June 3, 2010, on my desk stating that this requirement will begin September 1, 2010, for all Illinois electrophysiologists for “all electrophysiology procedures.”

Not longer than an hour later I was seeing a 67-year-old patient in the clinic who asked me: “I just got my Medicare (Part A) card and must decide about which insurer I should use for Part B, C, D, E, and F,” he said jokingly. “Since I have the medical problem and might need some care in the future, is there a company you would recommend?” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Airplane Medicine: What Happens When You Answer The Flight Attendant’s Call For A Doctor

Rounding at 37,000 Feet

Anyone who has flown long-distance flights has heard the call: “If there is a doctor on board, please identify yourself to a flight attendant.” But it’s impossible to understand how that call induces the urge to flee to the lavatory and hide unless you are one of those unfortunate few who are on the hook, which is to say that you are qualified to respond, but you really really don’t want to.

“But Gee,” I can hear you think, “Aren’t you an ER doctor? Isn’t this sort of thing second nature to you? Don’t you revel in the adrenaline and glory?” Well, yes. But. First of all, there is the performance anxiety thing. I’m used to working with a very small audience. In Economy class, there may be 300 people watching me try to do my thing, and I’m just not used to that many people being in the exam room — and I know they are very interested in what’s going on. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

Latest Interviews

Caring For Winter Olympians In Sochi: An Interview With Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim

I am a huge fan of the winter Olympics partly because I grew up in Canada where most kids can ski and skate before they can run and partly because I used to participate in Downhill ski racing. Now that I m a rehab physician with a reconstructed knee I…

Read more »

How Do Hospital Executives Feel About Locum Tenens Agencies And Traveling Physicians?

I recently wrote about my experiences as a traveling physician and how to navigate locum tenens work. Today I want to talk about the client in this case hospital side of the equation. I ve had the chance to speak with several executives some were physicians themselves about the overall…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

Read more »

See all book reviews »