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A PATIENT’S GUIDE TO HEART RHYTHM PROBLEMS

What a great title for a book! Its remit is to, “provide comprehensive information to help people with heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment”, this it does very well.

Written by Dr Todd Cohen, Director of Electrophysiology, at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, New York and Associate Professor of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, the book is endorsed by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, in the US. Dr Cohen has served as PI on many landmark trials such as, SCD-HeFT and the EnRhythm MRI trial.

HP-book-internalNot all wine or books travel well, and, although this is initially aimed at American readers, it will be useful in a European/UK setting. In 211 pages it sets out to review most things from AF to WPW, and how to investigate, diagnose and treat such arrhythmias. It moves on from the obligatory basics, “the heart is, in fact, a pump” to explore chapters on, the EP study, tilt testing, antiarrhythmic drugs (including dronedarone) and devices, down to the level of device implantation, replacement and lead extraction (“the technique of lead extraction is not without risks….ask your doctor about his or her personal experience, including the number of procedures performed as well as the results achieved”).

It also touches on device recalls, from an FDA perspective, and flags up five questions to ask your doctor before you get a device, eg, who is the manufacturer and what is the company’s track record; and six things to do after you get your device, eg, avoid MRIs unless you have an MRI-compatible device.

Some of the CPR advice, such as, “performing chest compressions to the refrain of the Bee Gee’s song, “Staying Alive”(from the movie, Saturday night fever) is useful for approximating this (100 compressions per minute) rate” may not be what you would fine in European or UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines, but its not a bad aide memoire.

It is a pity the publishers did not make some effort to include European scenarios, the list of device manufacturers phone contacts are all US based, as are details of the support groups eg AHA, HRS etc.

That said, this is a superb book which is neither confusing or condescending for those seeking sound advice on ‘Heart Rhythm Problems’.

Henry Purcell, Editor, British Journal of Cardiology.

A patient’s guide to Heart Rhythm Problems. Todd J Cohen. A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2010. Available from John Wiley & Sons, UK. ISBN 13: 978-0-8018-9775-7. Price £9.00.

Published on: May 6, 2011

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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