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Implanted Heart Devices Have 'Real-World' Benefits: Study
Date:11/23/2010

TUESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable devices designed to control heart rhythm and efficiency while preventing sudden death among heart failure patients are as effective at ensuring patient survival in real-world situations as they are in controlled study environments, new research suggests.

The finding is based on an analysis of nearly 186,000 patients outfitted with either an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a cardiac resynchronization therapy device (CRT), or a defibrillator combined with a CRT device (a CRT-D).

The study authors noted that the observation is somewhat surprising, given that some of the patients not enrolled in structured studies have already experienced a cardiac event and are therefore prescribed such devices to prevent a recurrence.

This would suggest that real-world heart failure patients, as a whole, might be more vulnerable to fatal events than those tracked in a study setting.

"I'm very encouraged that survival after defibrillator implant is as good as it is for as long as it is," co-author Dr. Leslie A. Saxon, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, said in a news release from the American Heart Association.

"There's a lot of good news here," she added.

Saxon and her team reported their observations in the Nov. 22 online edition of Circulation.

Crunching the numbers, the authors determined that 92 percent of ICD patients survive one year out from device implantation. The same is true for 88 percent of CRT-D patients, they noted.

Five years out, those figures dipped to 68 percent for ICD patients and 54 percent for CRT-D patients.

Among those outfitted with CRT devices alone, one-year survival was pegged at 82 percent, while five-year survival came in at 48 percent, the investigators found.

The poorer prognosis for CRT-onl
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