International Health News

Shock stops arrhythmia

OSSEO, WISCONSIN. Thomas Screnock, a family doctor in Wisconsin, reports an interesting case where a persistent atrial fibrillation was stopped and sinus rhythm restored through exposure to static elecricity. Dr. Screnock's patient was a 51-year-old, otherwise healthy man, who had suddenly developed atrial fibrillation. Treatment with oral verapamil, digitalis, and quinidine did not stop the fibrillation so the patient was put on warfarin in preparation for cardioversion. Just near the end of the four-week anticoagulation period the man went shopping. As he reached for a bottle of steak sauce placed on a steel shelf he received a powerful shock caused by a build-up of static electricity. Later that evening he noticed that his pulse was regular and an electrocardiogram confirmed that his heart rhythm was back to normal. Dr. Screnock ascribes the termination of the fibrillation attack to the static electricity shock and closes his letter to the editor with the comment "Please don't alert your managed care CEO of this rather surprising resolution of a recalcitrant dysrhythmia."
Screnock, Thomas. Static electricity stops a recalcitrant arrhythmia. Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 130, January 5, 1999, p. 78 (letter to the editor)

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