A shot of pure alcohol to the heart saved a man's life.
UK doctors performed the unusual procedure to trigger a controlled heart attack in an elderly patient to stop an irregular heartbeat after realizing they could not safely perform standard procedures on him, according to ABC News.
Doctors said that Ronald Aldom was doing "fantastically well" after he was given a dose of pure ethanol to treat his unusual cardio rhythm.
Aldom's doctor, cardiologist Dr. Tom Johnson said that the 77-year-old would not have made it if not for the procedure.
The latest case marks the first time Johnson of Bristol, England, has ever tried using ethanol to cure a ventricular tachychardia, or VT attack.
The doctor said that the treatment known as "ethanol ablation" has only been performed a handful of times in the UK to treat VT.
Johnson said that he had inserted a catheter into a blood vessel in the patient's groin, and pumped ethanol toward the portion of the heart where the dangerous rhythms were coming from.
The alcohol shot reportedly induced a controlled heart attack in the 77-year-old and killed the problematic heart tissue triggering his irregular heartbeat.
"He wasn't going to leave hospital unless something was done," Johnson told the BBC. "There was no other option."
Johnson said that Aldom had undergone treatment six weeks ago and was almost certainly facing death.
Johnson told ABC News that while the rare, risky procedure "sounds like a very barbaric treatment" it was a "very rewarding one".
While risky, Johnson said the procedure was a "last resort" after doctors determined that they could not perform any other standard procedures on Aldom's already seriously damaged heart.
VT begins in the ventricles, the bottom portion of the heart that pumps blood through the body. VT can be fatal if it isn't treated, and if found early, doctors usually insert small wires, or electrodes, into the heart to monitor and treat the abnormal rhythm.
Aldom told BBC reporters that it was "wonderful" that his doctors tried "everything" to help him.
"If they hadn't have done this I wouldn't be here now," he said, according to BBC.
Dr. Richard Page, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told ABC News that the procedure also isn't routine in the United States because the effects of an ethanol shot can be difficult to control.
"This is something you have to do electively," Page said. "This is not something you do on the fly in the middle of a cardiac arrest."
Published by Medicaldaily.com