Gentler Heart Restarter Shows Promise
By Joseph Brownstein, msnbc.com
If you haven't seen a heart restarted in real life, you've almost certainly seen it dramatized on TV. Paddles are applied to the bare chest and the defibrillator shocks the patient back to life. But if a technique reported in a new study continues to succeed, that scene may become a thing of the past.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have begun investigating whether a different type of electrical shock — one with a higher frequency and lower voltage, based on alternating current instead of direct current — can restart a heart whose rhythm has been thrown off, and avoid some of the subsequent problems the current high-voltage method presents to patients.