A  A  A   Print
Health, Not Age, Affects Benefits of Implanted Heart Device: Study

Health, Not Age, Affects Benefits of Implanted Heart Device: Study

MONDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly people may gain as much benefit from having implantable cardioverter defibrillators as younger people, according to a new study.

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, is a device placed inside the chest to deliver electrical shocks to restore normal heartbeat if it detects a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm.

The findings indicate that overall health, not just a person's age, should be used to predict whether a patient will benefit from receiving this type of device and help determine who should receive one, according to the authors of the study, which was published June 17 in the journal Circulation.

"Whether elderly patients benefit from the devices has been controversial and research on the topic is lacking," lead author Dr. Douglas Lee, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and a cardiologist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto, said in a journal news release. "The issue is important as the population ages and the number of elderly people living with heart disease grows."

Lee's team looked at nearly 5,400 patients who had the devices implanted. The patients had poor heart function due to heart failure or a prior heart attack, or after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest.

Among those who received the implanted device with heart failure or after heart attack, 38 percent were aged 70 or older and 7 percent were 80 or older. Among those who received the device after surviving a cardiac arrest, 42 percent were 70 or older and nearly 11 percent were in their 80s.

"Older patients were just as likely to experience an appropriate electrical shock from the device to treat a life-threatening heart rhythm," said Lee, who is also associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. "However, older patients experienced more noncardiac and cardiovascular hospitalizations and higher associated rates of death overall."

For example, among patients receiving an ICD to prevent cardiac arrest, the death rate among patients aged 18 to 49 was two per 100 patients, compared with 10 per 100 patients among those 80 and older.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

SOURCE: Circulation, news release, June 17, 2013

Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.