Doctor, Can You Take Away the Pain in My Heart

A pained heart often evokes romantic associations. However, for people who suffer from chronic heart conditions, a heart in pain may reflect a physiological disorder that severely impacts quality of life. Despite numerous procedures and surgeries, there are some people who remain with undiagnosable heart pain.

The pain management clinic in the Department of Anesthesiology at Rabin Medical Center has begun to use a new treatment to alleviate severe pain. An electrode is inserted between the vertebrates into the epidural space where the nerve endings that lead to the heart are located. The patient controls the electrode by sending small electric pulses to the brain, thereby blocking pain signals that are released throughout the body.

Dr. Rita Lekar, director of the pain management clinic at Rabin Medical Center, relates that patients who have undergone this new treatment report significant improvement in their quality of life. In her words, "a pain that crippled them is now nearly eradicated."

According to Dr. Leonid Eidelman, head of the Department of Anesthesiology, heart pains are a preliminary sign of more severe heart-related conditions. The pain almost serves as a type of alarm bell that signals warning of a future heart attack. The electrode is in no way meant to replace catheterization procedures or heart surgeries, which essentially serve to replenish and recycle blood to the patient's blocked heart. However, having said that, there are instances when all the appropriate surgeries and medications still fail to improve a patient's daily routines. Hence, the use of this gadget enables patients who suffer from heart pain to get through day by day.

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