It is the largest cause of natural death in the U.S., causing about 325,000 adult deaths in the U.S. each year, and is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths.
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack, but can occur during a heart attack. Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart, preventing the heart from receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. If the oxygen in the blood cannot reach the heart muscle, the heart becomes damaged.
In contrast, SCA occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular. The heart beats dangerously fast. The ventricles may flutter or quiver and blood is not delivered to the body. In the first few minutes, the greatest concern is that blood flow to the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person will lose consciousness. Death follows unless emergency treatment is begun immediately.
Now Jersey City Medical Center has announced the first subcutaneous cardiac defibrillator implantation in Hudson County was successfully performed on April 14. Abelardo Tadifa, a 68-year-old Jersey City resident, underwent the one hour procedure, which is associated with less risk of internal bleeding, infection, or trauma to heart or lungs commonly associated with a traditional transvenous defibrillator procedure.
“Everything went very smoothly,” said Dr. Roy Sauberman, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Jersey City Medical Center, who performed the procedure. “Mr. Tadifa rested comfortably throughout and after the procedure and returned home the following day.”
Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, the patient’s general cardiologist, and Dr. Sauberman both felt that Tadifa was a good candidate for the surgery because he was at greater risk for sudden cardiac disease due to his weakened heart muscle following a heart attack.