Did you know that Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown in 1973, including winning the Belmont by an unprecedented- and unrepeated- 31 lengths, had an unusually large heart? It was apparently due to an x-linked genetic factor.
I was reminded of that this morning when I came across this article: http://www.drjohnm.org/2012/01/ventricular-fib-contagious/
Two hearts? Wow. Not something you see every day.
Or ever, for the most part.
And THAT reminded me of a call I overheard on the scanner the other day.
A nearby agency got a call for someone, I don't remember the details of the call, except for one of them getting on the radio to ask if the other one was familiar with the patient, because he was the "guy with the LVAD."
I didn't know, specifically, that there were any people with these devices in our area.
The amount I know about them could fit in a thimble.
A very small pinky-sized thimble.
The world working the way it does, I figured that was a suggestion from the universe to do a little research and change that.
Start with the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventricular_assist_device
There are two different types of these devices, one that uses an action that produces a "pulse," and one that uses pumps that do not create a pulse-like movement. Is it me, or is this at least a little amusing: people with the second type of pump "will need to carry documentation that says that the lack of a pulse does not mean that they are dead." Imagine being handed such documentation- by the patient.
I know what they mean, but still. Funny image.
There is a lot of information on that wiki page, including links to a variety of interesting articles.
But it's an overview, and none of it tells me what I would need to know about such a patient, except that they may, or may not, have a pulse.
Found an interesting blog post. That's a little better. Heading in the right direction.
EMS World has something to say, too.
Some excellent information there. Worth making into a list and printing out to carry in the rescue.
I'm starting to feel a little better.
Over at EMS Office Hours, they have a podcast on the topic:
I have NOT found any protocols for my state or region, but it doesn't mean there aren't any.
Thank you, internets and blogosphere, for helping me out with this.