Miracle workers at Queens University are working on a revolutionary method to treat patients with Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that springs from a tick bite’s bacteria. Side effects include fatigue, fevers and they could lead to a series of heart conditions called Lyme carditis. To learn more about Lyme disease, click here.
Lyme carditis is usually treated with the installation of a pacemaker. Cardiologist, Adrian Baranchuk, suggests that this doesn’t always need to be the case. He tested this out with five patients, and in all cases, their heart rates returned to normal after the right antibiotics– only a few required a temporary pacemaker.
Cases of Lyme carditis are appearing rapidly. According to statistics provided by Canada’s government, there were 917 cases reported in Canada in 2015.
Baranchuk and his team administered a pacemaker and antibiotics to a 23-year-old man who’s heart was failing on him. Within 48 hours, his heart returned to normal. It was the perfect balance of the pacemaker and the meds that helped.
The team focused on the fact that he was so young and had no prior cardio issues. The fact that he was having heart failure at such a young age posed a red flag. This was also the case for the next four cases tested by Baranchuk and his team. They studied cases of males in their 30s and a final case with a 14-year-old boy, who was being treated at Kingston General Hospital for second degree AV block.
Implanting a permanent pacemaker in somebody so young and delicate does come with its risks. A typical pacemaker has a life expectancy of 10 years. On average, a person may need a replacement more than six times in their lifetime.
The new approach being developed by Baranchuk and his team could avoid this indefinitely. They are tracking Lyme carditis cases all across Canada and moving forward with further research.
“We need to educate health care professionals about Lyme carditis and its treatment,” said Baranchuk to the Queen’s Gazette. “There is a better way to treat this and medical professionals aren’t always prepared. We can change the treatment approach for this disease.”