Implanted Defibrillators Cut Down on Cardiac Arrest

Study finds benefits of implantation over 17-year period

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THURSDAY, Sept. 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may reduce rates of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF), says a 17-year Mayo Clinic study.

Researchers analyzed the incidence rates and trends of patients in Rochester, Minn., who, since 1985, suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and who received ventricular fibrillation by emergency medical services, and an ICD implant.

The study found ICDs averted potentially deadly ventricular arrhythmias in 22 patients. The rate of potentially life-threatening arrhythmias that were stopped increased from 1.1 to 3.5 per 100,000 over the study period. During that same period, rates of VF out-of-hospital cardiac arrest went from 26.3 to 7.7 per 100,000.

The findings appear in the September issue of Heart Rhythm, the journal of the Heart Rhythm Society.

"Although there are a number of factors that contribute to these findings, this study has significant clinical importance to prevention strategies and treatment of coronary heart disease, ventricular tachyarrhythmias, and sudden death," Dr. Stephen C. Hammill, president of the Heart Rhythm Society, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about arrhythmias.

SOURCE: September 2004, Heart Rhythm


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