Carmine Castellano is a 37 year-old man, a husband, a father of three and a successful landscape business owner. He had always been in excellent physical shape and very active until one day when he felt short of breath, and experienced hearing loss and a racing heart beat. Seven years earlier, he was rushed to the hospital when he was only 30 years old to find out he needed an ablation on his heart in order to stop an abnormally fast heart beat in the upper chambers of the heart. His condition was relatively normal for the next seven years with sporadic emergency situations.
Castellano stated, “I was shocked to know I needed a defibrillator because up until a week before the surgery, I thought I wasn’t a candidate. I never felt any discomfort until I was 30, and my awareness of having a problem increased. But, this wasn’t really a decision because I just wanted to feel better, and if having this device would help, then I was up for it.”
Castellano had five years after the first ablation that were relatively normal when another incident sent him to the emergency room. Over the next two years Castellano would experience unexplainable conditions with his heart that were affecting his health, home and business. “I knew something was wrong because I could feel it in my head and in my chest, but I wasn’t sure what it was,” Castellano said.
Castellano, fortunately, had problem-solving doctors. With choices that ranged from multiple ablations to prescription drugs and exploratory tests, Larry Chinitz, M.D.,1 Director of Electrophysiology at NYU Medical Center, was determined to find the best possible solution for this young patient with heart problems. Many of the tests came back with inconclusive results regarding the severity of Castellano’s heart condition, but neither Castellano nor Dr. Chinitz were convinced.
Finally, an MRI paved the way for a solution that was best for Castellano. “He had passed out, was anxious and had palpitations. I did an MRI of the heart and discovered significant muscle disease, scarring and low ejection fraction,” said Dr. Chinitz. “Castellano has idiopathic non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, which means he has scarring on the heart muscle of unclear origin.” A defibrillator was necessary, as the scarring could cause dangerous arrhythmias. “It is difficult to recommend a device for young people because it needs to work harder in young people and adapt to their lifestyle, especially people as active as Castellano.” He noted, though, that many young people who have devices can live a totally active life.
“I chose the Lumax 540 for three reasons related to Castellano’s youth and active lifestyle. First, the possible extended battery life. Second, the Home Monitoring® system that provides early detection of clinical events. Finally, because he is young and active it’s important to distinguish between a normal but rapid heart rhythm (sinus rhythm) and an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). This device has an excellent discrimination algorithm. It gives us the capability to fine tune sensing for individual patient needs. Therefore, the device assures that the patient receives the appropriate therapy,” Dr. Chinitz stated.
It has been two weeks since the BIOTRONIK Lumax 540 DR-T device was implanted. Castellano is recovering and feels secure knowing that Dr. Chinitz is watching his progress remotely. “I am confident that the device is providing continuous 24/7 monitoring of Castellano. He has not experienced any clinical events. I fully expect Castellano to return to his normal active lifestyle, without any restrictions.”
Carmine Castellano looks forward to regaining the quality of life he previously had. Commenting on his new device, Castellano states, “now that I have it, if anything happens, I know I’ll be ok.”
1 Larry A. Chinitz, MD, Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology and Invasive Cardiology
Director, Leon Charney Heart Rhythm Center, Assoc Professor of Medicine, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY
Contact: Holly Scerbo
As one of the world’s leading cardiovascular medical device companies, with several million implanted devices, BIOTRONIK is represented in over 100 countries with its global workforce of more than 4,500 employees. Known for having its finger on the pulse of the medical community, BIOTRONIK assesses the challenges physicians face, and provides the best solutions for all phases of patient care, ranging from diagnosis to treatment to patient management. Quality, innovation and reliability define BIOTRONIK and its growing success, and deliver confidence and peace of mind to physicians and their patients worldwide.