A “medical breakthrough” that could make heart surgery safer!
Researchers have developed a tiny balloon that could help doctors identify heart surgery patients who may be at risk for fatal complications.
A tubular balloon a few centimeters long is placed in the chest at the end of bypass surgery and other types of major heart surgery.
Surgeons insert a thin wire through the chest with a deflated balloon at the end. After it is placed in the pericardial sac (the fibrous sac that contains the heart), the balloon is inflated.
The other end of the wire is connected to a monitor that measures changes in cylinder pressure. The idea is that monitoring this pressure for several days while the patient is recovering in the hospital will provide early warning of a potentially fatal condition called cardiac tamponade.
It occurs when the pericardial sac fills with blood or fluid leaking from blood vessels damaged during heart surgery.
When the sac fills with fluid, it puts pressure on the heart, stopping it from beating properly and greatly reducing blood flow to other vital organs.
The condition usually develops within 48 hours of major heart surgery. It is considered a medical emergency because if not caught quickly, it can lead to fatal cardiac arrest.
Although it is a rare condition, it is responsible for 30% of deaths due to complications after heart surgery.
An experimental balloon device developed by heart surgeon Hazem Fallow at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham could be the solution.
In addition to the balloon, a second wire is inserted into the same area with a special probe at the end called a Doppler probe.
It then reflects high-frequency sound waves from red blood cells in the heart to get an idea of how much blood is flowing through the arteries.
It also serves as a warning to paramedics by sending signals to stop blood flow, indicating there is a problem.
Both balloon and tube devices are easily removed after the patient has recovered, usually after 48 hours.
Patients being monitored with this new device must remain in the hospital and may need to stay longer than usual.
However, if this means that cardiac tamponade can be recognized early and when it can be treated, that would be a huge step forward.
A sudden drop in blood pressure is currently one of the few warning signs of heart block.
If the doctors catch him quickly, they can cure him by draining the excess fluid.
However, this condition can be easily confused with other conditions such as congestive heart failure, where the heart is not working properly.
If not diagnosed promptly, cardiac tamponade often results in emergency open-heart surgery to relieve pressure on the heart, a procedure that is up to 70% fatal.
The tamponade device for monitoring cardiac output and diagnosing tamponade (PerDeCT) is currently a prototype.
However, its developers recently won a £500,000 grant from Innovate UK, the government body that funds groundbreaking technology, and it is due to be tested at Queen Elizabeth Hospital next year.
Source: Daily Mail