This blog has been very silent over the last couple of weeks. Main reason for this: I spent a couple of weeks in hospital with an additional 2-week recovery period. :-( What initially was planned as a little intervention and a 3-day stay in hospital turned out into 14 days in hospital and the implantation of a defibrillator.
Since a couple of years I do some running/jogging a couple of times a week. During one of these runs I didn't felt too well. And as this happened a couple of times after that in a short period of time I decided to visit a cardiologist. After a couple of visits, some investigations, a number of electrocardiograms (ECG) and echocardiograms (), etc the cardiologist detected an atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm which involves the two small, upper heart chambers. Atrial fibrillation results in a heart rate which is too fast, in my case. And after been on heart monitoring for a number of days the verdict was rather hard: persistent or chronic atrial fibrillation.
There are a variety of solutions to this. 4 in total I've been told by Dr. Brugada of the AZ VUB in Brussels. The first way of treatment is by the use of beta blockers. The second way to control the heart rhythm include an electrical and chemical cardioversion. The electrical cardioversion involves the restoration of normal heart rhythm through the application of a DC electrical shock. The chemical achieves the same result by using drugs. The third way is Radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA uses radiofrequency energy to destroy abnormal electrical pathways in heart tissue. While this is still an area of active research this method was tried in my case but failed. Left was only the 4th option: an open-heart surgical procedure intended to eliminate atrial fibrillation or the implant of an internal defibrillator, aka an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). The device is designed to deliver an electric shock to the patient, in an effort to stop pulseless ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia (more information after the link on Wikipedia).
For those that have never heard of an ICS, but have seen the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale: Bond uses a defibrillator from his Aston Martin DBS, to revive himself after being poisoned with digitalis during his poker game. On returning to the table he wittily remarks "Sorry; that last hand -- nearly killed me."
So if you are wondering what this thing (ICD) looks like, have a look at the site of Biotronik. To end a long(er) story I can say that I recovered pretty well of all of this. I'm still alive and back at work. :-) The upcoming weeks I'll keep a close eye to my work schedule (work-life balance!) because I feel that the mental recovery will still last a couple of months.
This clarifies a little bit on how I spent the holiday season and why it was so silent on this blog. I hope I can change that in the coming days, because with Developer & IT-Pro Days 2007 coming up, Designertopia taking place next week, Scott Guthrie coming to Belgium, etc there are lot of events to blog about. Stay tuned for more!
Technorati Tags: heart - cardiologist - defibrillator - ICD