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The man who defeated death

“I knew I was going to collapse,” he says. But he couldn’t know his heart was about to stop beating – or that he would be declared clinically dead for six long minutes, while his wife and children looked on.

Paramedics rushed to Jamie’s side, reviving him by jolting his heart back to life. But his ordeal wasn’t over. After weeks in hospital, the diagnosis came: Long QT, an inherited heart rhythm disorder that affects people who are otherwise perfectly healthy.

"I was bewildered,” Jamie says. “There was no warning, no precursor and I had no idea."

Jamie was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) – a fancy name for an incredible device that detects and corrects abnormal heart rhythms. For Jamie, it meant continuing the things he loved most, such as playing soccer and spending time with his family.

Diagnosing the undetectable

In a brilliant breakthrough, a team of eminent computer scientists and cardiac specialists at the Victor Chang Institute identified a signature heart beat pattern to better detect heart abnormalities.

Through a combination of video gaming technology and CSIRO’s super computer, hundreds of thousands of heart beats can now be screened in just 10 days – a job that would have taken 21 years to complete on a desktop PC!

This innovative discovery will lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses for people like Jamie, and ultimately better treatment plans.

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