EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, Monday, June 17, 2013
DALLAS, June 17, 2013 — The elderly may benefit from implantable cardioverter defibrillators as much as younger people, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery-powered device placed under the skin of the chest which delivers electrical impulses to restore a normal heartbeat if it detects a dangerous abnormal rhythm.
Overall health — not age alone — should determine how well patients will do after getting an ICD and help guide decisions about who should receive one, researchers said.
“Whether elderly patients benefit from the devices has been controversial and research on the topic is lacking,” said Douglas S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and cardiologist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. “The issue is important as the population ages and the number of elderly people living with heart disease grows.”
“Older patients were just as likely to experience an appropriate electrical shock from the device to treat a life-threatening heart rhythm. However, older patients experienced more non-cardiac and cardiovascular hospitalizations and higher associated rates of death overall,” said Lee, who is also associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.
Other study findings include:
Co-authors are Derek Yung, M.D.; David Birnie, M.B.Ch.B.; Paul Dorian, M.D.; Jeffrey S. Healey, M.D., M.Sc.; Christopher S. Simpson, M.D.; Eugene Crystal, M.D.; Andrew D. Krahn, M.D.; Yaariv Khaykin, M.D.; Douglas Cameron, M.D. and Zhongliang Chen, M.D.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded the study.
Read more on living with an ICD.
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