Joondalup Health Campus patients have access to heart-starting device


Cardiologist Justin Ng with the implantable defibrillator. Picture: Chris Kershaw.
Cardiologist Justin Ng with the implantable defibrillator. Picture: Chris Kershaw.

AN implant that can shock a failing heart back to life has become available for Joondalup Health Campus patients.

Known as a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator, doctors attach the device under the chest skin where it uses electrodes to detect the onset of a serious issue.

Cardiologist Justin Ng became the first doctor to perform the procedure in Joondalup in March.

“It is relatively new technology,” he said.

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“There are other hospitals in WA already using this device but this is new for Joondalup Health Campus.

“When the device detects a serious problem with heart rhythm it delivers a shock which can restart the heart, in the same way we would use an external defibrillator.”

He said it bettered older technology in that it remained outside the heart and blood vessels, lessening the risk of infection.

Young patients who have an inherited heart problem would benefit most from the implant.

The device could also prove a lifesaver for other at-risk groups.

“The most common causes (of sudden cardiac arrest) include previous large heart attack resulting in weak pumping action of the heart, a viral infection or congenital heart disease,” Dr Ng said.

“All of these things can lead to electrical problems and some of these patients would benefit from the new device.”