After Anthony Quadrino suffered his first heart attack in December 2009, he didn’t know what to expect in terms of how he would recuperate. He suffered another one four months later, and that was when his daughter, who was living in Marina del Rey, told her father that she wanted him to come out west to recover.
“She literally packed up my belongings and told me to come with her,” Quadrino, a former New Yorker, recalled recently.
The move to the West Coast altered his life in more ways than one.
It was here that Quadrino met Dr. Shephal Doshi, the director of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. Doshi was conducting a clinical trial with a new device that could allow patients like Quadrino to have a defibrillator implanted in their bodies with a minimum amount of invasiveness and without wires going into the heart.
The heart instrument, the S-ICD system, is designed to provide life-sustaining therapy to patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. It detects disorganized heart rhythms and provides a jolt of electricity, or shock, to restore the heart’s normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
Quadrino had the device implanted last October and says seven months later he feels better than he has in years. “It’s extremely less invasive than a regular defibrillator and I’m at less of a risk of infections from wires,” said Quadrino, who was considering having a defibrillator with wires implanted before he left New York.
Doshi said his device can give patients who cannot always have a defibrillator with them the satisfaction of not worrying about sustaining long-term damage if they have a heart attack. “Patients like Mr. Quadrino are susceptible to heart attacks after they have had one or two, so they can be at greater risk,” the doctor explained. “The S-ICD functions like an EKG (lectrocardiograph, which captures electrical activity of the heart) and in the case of a cardiac arrest, it acts as a defibrillator.”
According to the American Medical Association, more patients die of cardiac arrest than any other disease in the United States.
Quadrino met Doshi through his cardiologist, Dr. Nicole Weinberg of Santa Monica. He was accepted into the clinical trial and the procedure was done last fall.
Quadrino, 66, who describes himself as a “lean machine,” says the device is not cumbersome at all. “I hardly know that it’s there,” he said. “(The S-IDC) allows me to do the things that I want to do.”
Doshi says Quadrino is a “very active person who had blocked arteries” and was a very good candidate for the procedure.
Dr. Ian Crozier of New Zealand speaks highly of the heart device.
“This new approach to ICD therapy is better for a significant portion of my ICD patients. The procedure is surgically simple and may reduce or eliminate some of the complexity inherent with transvenous electrodes,” Crozier told the online publication Health Jockey.com. “For the implanting clinician, not having to wear a protective lead apron to avoid radiation exposure during the procedure was refreshing.”
Anyone who is at high risk of cardiac arrest, has a heart function of less than 35 percent and who has had prior heart attacks may be eligible for the clinical trial, which is now closed.
Doshi has developed another heart instrument called the Watchman, which he believes will greatly improve the quality of life for those afflicted with atrial fibrillation.
One of his patients is Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who was on the heart medication Coumadin, recently had the Watchman procedure done and says he feels like a new man.
“I feel great,” the councilman told the Argonaut shortly after his procedure. Rosendahl, who had the Watchman implanted Jan. 21 and returned to work Jan. 31, said he was walking around his hospital room hours after the procedure and is looking forward to no longer taking Coumadin.
Doshi said safety efficacy tests on the S-ICD should be completed within a year. “I’m very optimistic that this can be an alternative to patients who need this life-altering procedure,” he said.
Quadrino said he has seen other improvements to his health as well. “It’s helped me mentally as well as physically,” he said.
Doshi said he expects to present his device to the Federal Drug Administration sometime next year for approval. The FDA is the government agency responsible for approving and regulating the use of vaccines, pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices, among other things.