Health Highlights: Nov. 27, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Cheney's Heart Rhythm Restored to Normal

An electrical shock was used to restore normal rhythm to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's heart Monday evening. The procedure at George Washington University Hospital was described as a low-risk, standard practice, the Associated Press reported.

An irregular heartbeat was detected in Cheney, 66, at about 7 a.m. ET Monday by doctors checking the vice president for a lingering cough from a cold. It was determined that he had atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Cheney's Heart Rhythm Restored to Normal
    • Experimental Heart Stent Shows Positive Results
    • Rhode Island Hospital Fined After 3rd Brain Surgery Mishap
    • Electronic Harassment of U.S. Adolescents Increasing
    • Encore Tabs May Contain Potentially Harmful Ingredients
    • Scientists Contemplate Artificial Limbs With Sense of Touch

Cheney worked throughout Monday and went to the hospital at about 5 p.m. He was discharged about 7:30 p.m. and returned to work Tuesday, the AP reported.

"An electrical impulse was used to restore the upper chambers to normal rhythm," said Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. "The procedure went smoothly and without complication."

Cheney has a history of heart problems. He's had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties, and has an implanted heart defibrillator, the AP reported.

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Experimental Heart Stent Shows Positive Results

Abbott Laboratories' experimental Xience V heart stent continues to show positive results in clinical testing, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Stents are wire mesh cylinders inserted into arteries after blockages have been removed to prevent the vessels from reclogging. New data from a two-year study of more than 600 patients showed the Xience device was more effective in preventing reclogging than the market leader, Boston Scientific's Taxus 2, the newspaper said.

Xience, however, did not show an advantage when it came to preventing deaths or reducing heart attack rates, the Times said of data provided by the company and federal regulators.

Xience is among a class of stents that are coated with a drug designed to better prevent re-clogging than their bare-metal cousins.

An expert panel advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to meet Thursday to decide whether to recommend approval of Xience by the full agency.

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Rhode Island Hospital Fined After 3rd Brain Surgery Mishap

Rhode Island Hospital has been fined $50,000 by the state health department after doctors there performed surgery on the wrong side of a patient's head for the third time in less than a year, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The hospital is owned by a non-for-profit corporation, Lifespan, and is a teaching hospital for Brown University, the wire service said.

After the Department of Health levied the fine and said it was "extremely concerned" about the recent mishaps, the hospital issued a statement saying it would re-evaluate its training methods and beef up oversight procedures.

The most recent incident occurred Friday when the chief resident began surgery on the wrong side of an 82-year-old man's brain, the department said. That man was expected to recover, as has the victim of a similar incident in February, the AP reported.

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