Laying off alcohol can give you the DTs – but its application can be a lifesaver for VT patients

Alf has been a great champion of the medicinal effects of booze for a long time.

Accordingly he acquainted his constituents with news (here) of Denis Duthie, who was admitted to Taranaki Base Hospital earlier this year after he went blind during a heavy vodka drinking session at a 50th wedding anniversary in July.

Doctors suspected he had formaldehyde (methanol) poisoning, and opted to start alcohol infusion into his stomach through a tube.
But because there was no medical alcohol in the hospital, a medical registrar bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker from a nearby liquor store.

The scotch was a life-saver.

A similar story is reported from Britain (here).

Doctors there saved a pensioner by using 100% proof booze to give him a heart attack.

Doctors have saved a patient’s life by killing off part of his heart with neat alcohol.

Medics used the rare treatment on Ronald Aldom to induce a controlled heart attack, after they realised they could not safely perform standard procedures on him.

Cardiologist Dr Tom Johnson said his 77-year-old patient would have died without the procedure.

This Aldom feller was suffering from a life-threatening disruption to his heart rhythm called ventricular tachycardia (VT).

This occurred as a result of a previous heart attack.

The team decided to treat him with ‘ethanol ablation’.

The treatment has only been conducted a handful of times in the UK to treat VT, Dr Johnson 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 absolute alcohol 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.

Aldom obviously has been chatting with news media about his condition and explained he was admitted to hospital after his implantable defibrillator (ICD) gave him a “thunderstorm of shocks”.

Dr Johnson has previously performed the procedure for patients with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a condition in which the heart muscle becomes thick.

This was his first use of the procedure to treat VT.

‘The patient is doing tremendously well and is doing and is much better,’ he said.

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

The story raises interesting questions about what would have happened to the patient if he had been hauled off for treatment in – let’s say – Saudi Arabia.

The life-saving booze would have been in short supply there, one imagines.

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