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The Mysterious Human Heart The Mysterious Human Heart border=
A Series by David Grubin


Patient Updates: The Spark of Life

There have been no further episodes of rapid heartbeat for Susan.
There have been no further episodes of rapid heartbeat for Susan.

SUSAN ARVIN - Atrial Fibrillation patient

Susan Arvin says she is feeling great relief since having her ablation -- the procedure in which certain heart cells are burned to prevent them from conducting electricity. There have been no further episodes of rapid heartbeat and she is able to work and exercise without disruption. All indications are that ablation, in this case, successfully cured the atrial fibrillation.
MAGDAL GONZAGA DE SILVA - Chagas Disease

Dr. Rassi in Goiania reports that two months after Magdal received his implantable defibrillator the device fired, resetting his heart's rhythm. When last examined in September, he was doing very well.

Matthew has had a tiny heart monitor inserted into his chest.
Matthew has had an ICD inserted into his chest.

THE OILL FAMILY - Long QT Syndrome patients

Things have changed rapidly and dramatically for the Oill family since filming on The Spark of Life was completed.

First, both twins -- Matthew and Christopher -- had tiny heart monitors inserted into their chests. These small devices (about the size of a little finger) are designed to monitor and store records of irregular heartbeats. Soon after the monitors were put in, Matthew fainted again for the seventh time in his young life. Just days later his brother, Christopher, became dizzy while performing in a high school play.

Those two incidents, so close together, were enough to make Lynn and Joe, the boys' parents, decide to have internal defibrillators implanted in both of the twins.

All three of the Oill sons, Kevin, Christopher, and Matthew now have ICDs.

Soon after the ICDs were implanted in the twins, the NEW YORK TIMES published a front page article reporting that "The nationšs largest maker of implanted heart devices, Medtronic, said yesterday that it was urging doctors to stop using a crucial component in its most recent defibrillator models because it was prone to a defect that has caused malfunctions in hundreds of patients and may have contributed to five deaths."

Lynn Oill confirms that all three of her sons have these potentially defective leads in their hearts.



Funding is provided by Medtronic, AstraZeneca, and Mars, Incorporated - makers of CocoaVia. Additional funding is provided by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. A co-production of David Grubin Productions, Thirteen/WNET New York and WETA Washington, D.C.
Medtronic AsrtaZeneca MARS Thirteen/WNET NEW YORK