Old Defibrillators Safe for Re-use11/16/10
TUEDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable cardioverter
defibrillators (ICDs) that are removed from patients -- either
because of infections or for necessary upgrades -- can be safely
used again for new patients, new research indicates.
The observation is based on a small study of 31 patients in
India who had ICDS implanted that had already been used and removed
from other patients.
The study, led by Dr. Behzad Pavri, an associate professor of
medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, is slated
for presentation Tuesday at the American Heart Association annual
meeting in Chicago.
Before re-implantation, all the removed ICDS (which had a
battery life of 70 percent or more when extracted from the original
pool of patients) were cleaned and sterilized.
In turn, they were implanted in patients diagnosed with a
life-threatening irregular heart beat condition (arrhythmia). Pavri
and his colleagues noted that the recipients would have been too
poor to afford new ICD devices outside of the study.
The authors followed the patients for an average of two years
and two months. During that time, none of the patients experienced
ICD-related infections, and more than 40 percent got the expected
life-sustaining shocks such devices are designed to deliver when
About 16 percent of the patients did, however, have to receive a
second re-sterilized, used ICD three years following the first
implant when the battery finally expired.
If the findings hold up upon further investigation, the authors
suggest that their re-use strategy could have be beneficial for
low-income populations down the road.
For more on ICDs, visit the
American Heart Association.
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