Alcohol used to induce heart attack and save patient's life

London:  In an unconventional treatment, UK doctors have saved a man's life by killing off part of his heart muscle with a shot of neat alcohol, inducing a controlled heart attack.

Ronald Aldom, 77, from Portishead near Bristol, had an unusual heart rhythm called ventricular tachychardia that can be fatal if left unchecked.

Doctors had tried to treat it using standard methods but with no success.

Then they resorted to using pure ethanol to trigger a controlled heart attack and kill off some of his heart muscle, the report said.

The procedure involves passing a catheter to the heart from the groin which identifies which part of the heart the dangerous rhythms are coming from.

A tiny balloon is then blown up in the heart artery supplying that area and a small amount of pure ethanol is
injected into the artery to produce a small controlled heart attack.

This kills the area of the heart muscle causing the problem allowing the heart's rhythm to return to normal.

This rare treatment has only been conducted a handful of times in the UK, the report said.

Cardiologist Dr Tom Johnson, who carried out the procedure at the Bristol Heart Institute, said Aldom was now "much better".

"He wasn't going to leave hospital unless something was done. There was no other option."

Aldom, who is now out of hospital, said: "I think it's wonderful that the doctors tried everything to help me.

"If they hadn't have done this I wouldn't be here now."
Story First Published: December 24, 2012 19:47 IST

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