Blues' Jay Bouwmeester undergoes successful ICD implant

Local cardiologist explains the purpose of the procedure

Fred Bodimer
February 15, 2020 - 6:47 pm

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Blues announced Friday morning that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is recovering from having a device implanted in his chest to monitor and control his heart beat.  The device was implanted at UC Irvine Medical Center in Anaheim after a series of tests to determine why Bouwmeester collapsed on the team's bench Tuesday night during a game with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.  Boumeester suffered a cardiac episode, slumped over, fell off the bench and had to be revived with a defibrillator before he was taken to the hospital.

The device is called an ICD or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

"An ICD is sort of like a pacemaker," said SLU Care cardiologist Dr. Michael Lim at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  "We implant it kind of in the shoulder, just below the collarbone.   Most of the time, there is either one or two wires which extend from this device into the vein and they get implanted into the heart.  And what this does is it actually monitors your heart beat on a 24/7 basis.  And it is programmed to detect if your heart rhythm goes into a bad heart rhythm -- we would call that ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation -- and if that would occur, then it has two ways to try to get your heart out of that rhythm."

So how does it do that?

"One would be to try to pace it really rapidly to break that fast heart rhythm," Dr. Lim tells KMOX.  "The second and more common way is actually to deliver a shock inside the heart which would cause that heart rhythm to end and a normal rhythm to continue."

Dr. Lim says there are a couple of reasons why some people need an ICD implant.

"One is preventative," he said.  "There are some people with heart conditions where the risk of developing one of these heart rhythms is high enough that we would put one in for prevention -- meaning we think that you are at risk for developing one of these heart rhythms and we'd like to make sure that this doesn't cause your demise.  Or likely in Jay Bouwmeester's case, the concept is we think that you had one of these heart rhythms already, so you are at risk for having it again and you get an ICD put in to prevent this from causing a problem if this would occur anytime again down the road."

The Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong says Boumeester will be flown back to St. Louis and monitored by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University physicians.  The Blues will provide an update on Boumeester's status early next week. 

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