Just-Approved Defibrillators Limit Unnecessary Shocks

Medtronic devices said to recognize irregular heartbeat that's life-threatening

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TUESDAY, March 29, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Defibrillator maker Medtronic says its new line of Protecta devices has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The devices incorporate "Smart Shock" technology that recognizes when irregular heartbeats are life-threatening and delivers therapeutic shocks "only when appropriate," Medtronic said in a news release.

Implanted defibrillators are designed to shock an irregularly beating heart (ventricular arrhythmia) back into a normal rhythm. However, sometimes the devices sense a non-life-threatening arrhythmia or electrical noise and produce an "inappropriate shock," Medtronic said.

As many as one in five people with implantable defibrillators experiences inappropriate shocks, Medtronic said, adding its studies concluded that 98 percent of people with the Protecta devices were free of inappropriate shocks a year after implant.

Shipments of the new devices will begin immediately, said Medtronic, based in Minneapolis.

More information

To learn more about this type of device, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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