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Details about defibrillator readings - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 13-Jan-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 40 Questions
User :   I was just wondering if someone could tell me how to read a defibrillator read out.... my husband passed away on January 5th at the age of 28 of atheroschlerosis and went into cardiac arrest. The first responder tried to use the defibrillator on him but he did not respond. I found the read out the other day while cleaning, and I don't understand it. Can someone help?
Doctor :   hi
Doctor :  
ok
Doctor :  
what does the read out say?
User :   one second I'll grab it
Doctor :  
ok
User :   ok
User :   the top line
User :   is just a squiggly line
Doctor :  
ok
User :   above it, it says II 10mm/mV
User :   below that it says pleth and there is a straight line
Doctor :  
ok
User :   below that it says C02 and then has measurements of 0, 30, and 60
User :   I don't know what any of it means :(
Doctor :  
i will explain
User :   thanks
Doctor :  
the first line tells you of the voltage use and the line use
User :   ok...
Doctor :  
below is the pleth with straight line which shows that the heart did not respond to the electric shock to come back into action.
User :   that's what I thought :(
User :   I'm guessing the bottom shows the level of C02 in his body?
Doctor :   the measurements of 0, 30, 60 tells how much time gap in seconds the shock was given to defribrillate the heart
User :   it also says something about Vtach
Doctor :  
the level of CO2 in body can be measured with a test called ABG
User :   ok
Doctor :  
and i dont think they would have done that immediately
Doctor :  
have you followed what i have said?
User :   yes
Doctor :   Is there any thing else I can help you with?

User :   well... I'm trying to understand atheroschlerosis
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :  
what would you like to know about it?
User :   I've heard they call it the "Silent Death" because most people don't have any symptoms
Doctor :  
yes they do call it
User :   His father died of the same thing
User :   back in the mid 90s
Doctor :  
it means that the fat gets deposited in the walls of the arteries and veins, which leads to narowing of them
User :   he had a massive coronary (sorry if the spelling is wrong)
User :   now I was told by the pathologist that this is genetic..
Doctor :  
and sometimes when these plaques are too big, then due to turbulent flow of blood in the vessles, they get dislodged
User :   we have a 2 year old daughter...what can I do... to monitor this?
Doctor :  
and this happens more so when these are deposited over the heart valves.
User :   ok I get it now
Doctor :  
so when these get dislodged, they go and pgug off smaller arteries
User :   right
User :   well the day before he died... he complained of a pain in the back of his leg...
Doctor :  
and when this happens in heart, it blocks.cuts off the blood supply to hreat musvles
Doctor :  
leading to the heart attack
User :   ok
Doctor :  
ok
User :   so according to this read out... he had sudden cardiac arrest?
User :   since he was flat lined?
Doctor :  
so most probably it was either a cholesterol plug or a clot from leg vessels that travelled up to heart and blokced the blood supply
Doctor :  
yes he probably could have had a cardiac arrest if any major artery supplying was bloked
Doctor :  
for your daugther
Doctor :  
you should check her cholesterol levels regularly once she is above 15 years
User :   ok
User :   one more thing...
User :   the pathologist said his heart was enlarged..
Doctor :  
and avoid junk foods and high fatty/oliy foods right from the beginning
User :   almos 3 times the size of a normal heart...
Doctor :  
ok
Doctor :  
ok
User :   my husband was a big guy...6 foot 4 and about 250 lbs
Doctor :  
then he might have had the sequelae much before he started having actual symptoms
User :   well
User :   about
User :   9 years ago
User :   when we first got together..
User :   he developed this chronic cough
Doctor :  
the size of the heart usually is the size of the hand folded in form of fist
User :   we had been to many drs, they thought it was intestinal, because he'd cough so hard he'd throw up
Doctor :  
ok
User :   then they thought it was because of his adnoids and nasil drip in his throat
Doctor :  
was anytime x-ray and ECHO done for his complaints?
User :   no
User :   nothing
User :   a friend of mine who has a heart condition, asked me if my husband had any kind of cough
User :   and I said yes
Doctor :  
these could have picked up silent changes inside chest cavity due to any heart overload or lung congestion leading to overload on heart
User :   they never did anything like that
User :   they thought it was allergies
Doctor :  
as the chronic cough can lead to pulmonary hypertension, which causes more load on heart making it to enlarge
Doctor :  
this happens in severe cases where treatment for chronic cough is not adequate
User :   we saw several different doctors
User :   and never once did they do any kind of xray on him
User :   I'm so frustrated :(
Doctor :  
well I cannot comment on this, but an x-ray and ECHO would have been helpful.
User :   I tried doing CPR the morning he died... he was here... and then 10 minutes later he was slouched over on the couch
User :   but it took almost 20 minutes for the medical responders to get here
Doctor :  
what i can do tell is that what has happened you cannot change, but you can try and modify the risks for your daughter to delay the process and keep the compliactions under control by following diet and lifestyle changes
Doctor :  
ok
User :   absolutely
User :   Thank you very much you have been very helpful
Doctor :  
since his father died of the same issue, did he ever check his cholesterol levels?
User :   no
User :   he was young when his father died
Doctor :  
did he check his ECG and echo atleast once?
User :   no he never did
User :   he was always healthy
User :   we were going to go for physicals the begining of the year
Doctor :  
since it is heriditary, it is known to pass on, so early detection of the condition and treatment could have prolonged his life
User :   once things calmed down with my dad
Doctor :  
especially the cardio workup
User :   my dad was shot in the stomach
Doctor :  
oh ok
User :   point blank with a 40 caliber hand gun back in november
Doctor :  
ok
User :   during an attempted robbery
User :   so I'm sure the stress had a lot o do with it as well
User :   *to
Doctor :  
so your husband did have emotional and mental stress too along with his medical problems
User :   yes
Doctor :  
so may be all the factors together took the toll on him
User :   he was unemployed and then my dad was shot
User :   yeah :(
Doctor :  
anyways, whats done and heppened cannot be changed, there might be something useful God does for everyone, now atleast you came to know what responsibilities you have for your daughter
User :   exactly
Doctor :  
and how you can guide other people suffering with similar symptoms
User :   well I'm going to become an advocate
Doctor :  
so make use of the opportunity, bring the light of knowledge to people who need
Doctor :  
that is good
User :   people my age (early 30's) and in their 20's don't stop to think about their hearts
User :   we take it for granted because heart attacks happen to "old people"
User :   and it's about time that we do
Doctor :   yes, very true, they dont think of these, but the timely and early care goes an long long way in preventing undue medical problems and early deaths
Doctor :  
heart attacks can happen in people as young as 18-20 years
User :   exctly
User :   *exactly
Doctor :  
so its is not at all a 'old nmans diesase'
User :   this is true
Doctor :  
Is there any thing else I can help you with?
User :   nope that'll do it
User :   thank you very much
Doctor :   i really appreciate your initiative, keep doing good, you will realy be useful in pereventing untimely deaths due to carelessness
User :   oh... before I go..
User :   my daughter...
Doctor :  
Please fill the feedback form, and comment box, and say done when done.
User :   she also has a cough... similar to my husbands...
Doctor :   yes please proceed
User :   should I be worried?
Doctor :  
get a checkup done, in case needed she might need an imaging like x-ray
User :   ok
Doctor :  
see her pediatrician
User :   I'll do that first thing
User :   thanks
Doctor :  
and start antibiotics and other measures suggested by him
Doctor :  
do mention the family history of heart problems
User :   I will thank you
Doctor :   Thanks for consulting HealthcareMagic. Bye for now. Please chat with our doctors 24/7 for medical queries. Please refer your friends to our service.
Doctor :   we are always there to help you 24/7
Doctor :  
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Doctor :  
bye for now
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