Monday, September 08, 2014

Another MacGyver Moment in Pacemaker Implantation

Installing a permanent pacemaker or defibrillator has become commonplace event in cardiology these days.  These devices implanted in a patient are comprised of two main parts: the lead(s) and the pulse generator.  After installing the leads in the heart and connecting them to the pulse generator, the lead and pulse generator assembly are then placed beneath the skin in a small subcutaneous (or in rarer cases, submuscular) "pocket" that is created surgically.  Considerable care is taken to cauterize bleeding vessels when the pocket is created.  To facilitate visualization of these occasional bleeding vessels deep within the created pocket, I prefer to use a surgical headlamp to direct the light deep within the pocket cavity rather than relying on a conventional overhead surgical light.  I have found that headlamps have helped me limit my incidence of post-operative pocket hematoma development.

So as things have had it, I seem to have a knack for attracting every eighty- or ninety-plus year old who needs an emergency pacemaker on the weekend when I'm on call, and this past weekend was no exception.

So the team was assembled and the pacemaker implantation equipment readied.  They knew I liked a headlamp, so they dug deep into the recesses of their inventory to pull out their only headlamp that appeared to be from a bygone surgical era.  Being pressed for time, I couldn't argue and had to make due, but knew that this headlamp might not be very reliable, especially as I saw how the headlamp's fiberoptic cord was secured to the light source that generated about as much light as a few well-lit candles by a cumbersome spring-loaded Rube Goldberg contraption.  As I placed the headlamp on my head, and tightened the plastic strap that housed the headlamp to my head, I needed a backup plan in case the light failed.

Would I have to use the overhead light and make do, or might there be another way? 

I needed another MacGyver Moment.

That's when my on-call staff team came up with a brilliant, simplified idea:

iPhone to the rescue!


(PS:  This device is experimental and has not been approved by the FDA.  Use this device at your own risk.    If you experience headaches, nausea, difficulty with concentration, or an erection lasting for longer than four hours, discontinue use of this device and contact your doctor immediately.  I have no commercial interest in this device.  Also, since the headlamp still worked this weekend, no workaround was needed for the patient, but something tells me we might be getting a new headlamp soon.)

1 comment:

doc said...

You,sir, are a genius. Well done