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

y patients was attributed to their older average age (76 years), and the fact that they may be relatively sicker overall. Patients today tend to receive CRT devices with defibrillators.

The study team also found that patients whose implants were monitored remotely, on a continual basis, by a health facility network were about half as likely to die as patients who only had intermittent in-person assessments.

Remote monitoring via telephone lines and online physician access is available for all ICD and CRT-D devices, the authors noted, and enrollment in such programs is typically free with a cardiologist's recommendation.

"It's highly likely the reason these patients did better is that they were receiving earlier diagnoses, and they were also empowered to take charge of their own health care more," Saxon said. "I don't think there's any reason not to put a patient on it."

Dr. Eric N. Prystowsky, cardiologist and director of clinical electrophysiology at St. Vincent Medical Center in Indianapolis, said that the findings are "good news," but cautioned against over-interpreting the data.

"These are very basic facts, concerning simply who lived and died," he noted. "So we don't really know what it all means, and it's inappropriate to suggest that we could, based only on this compilation of data."

But, Prystowsky continued, "this analysis does show two impressive things: one, that patients who are not super-selected for a trial do well with these devices from a mortality standpoint; and two, that patients who had home-monitoring had better outcomes."

Prystowsky added, "Now on the latter point, again, from this data we can't say exactly why that is. But at our facility we think it makes caring for a patient much easier. Physicians knowing things sooner will theoretically give a patient a better chance for quicker access to appropriate care. And that has to be good. So we think there's certainly no downside to remote monitoring and
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