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Implantable Defibrillators Underused Among Older Patients

Heart Attack Victims Often Forgo Use of Implanted Cardiological Devices After Event

Each year more than 350,000 people die from sudden cardiac death. Placement of an “implantable cardioverter-defibrillator,” or ICD, can prevent sudden cardiac death in patients who have weakened heart function, including those who have experienced a previous heart attack. A new study examined older patients who had weakened heart function after a heart attack and whether or not they underwent placement of these defibrillators and what portion of the patients were still alive 2 years later.

Tracy Wang MD, MHS, MSc, from Duke University and co-authors, examined clinical information from more than 10,000 medicare beneficiaries who had experienced a heart attack from 2007 to 2010. These patients were treated at more than 400 hospitals across the US.

Click here to read the full study in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.