‘Exercise, lifestyle change will not improve your situation’

Pacifi c Island Pacemaker Services chairwoman Dr Fiona Riddell (middle) with surgeons at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Pacifi c Island Pacemaker Services is an organisation based in New Zealand, which has volunteers delivering life-saving pacemaker services who come to Fiji twice every year. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

If you have a slow heart rate, exercise and lifestyle change will not be able to improve your situation, only a pacemaker can do that, says Pacific Island Pacemaker Services chairwoman Dr Fiona Riddell.

She said a slow heart rate was completely unrelated to lifestyle changes and exercise.

“And it can’t be improved with medication,” she said.

“The only treatment for the slow heart rate is to implant a pacemaker.

“That is the only thing that will keep the patient alive.”

Ms Riddell said pacemakers were implanted for people who had a very slow heart rate and its implantation would save their lives and improve their situation “immediately”.

“We put wires into the heart connected up to a battery which sits under the skin up on the shoulder.

“It works automatically, keeps the heart beating normally.”

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