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Defibrillator Patients Who Lose Weight May Fare Worse
Date:3/7/2013

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- Heart patients who have an implantable defibrillator known as a CRT-D and who unintentionally lose even a few pounds fare worse than those who do not lose weight, according to a new study.

Although it would seem that people with heart failure who are overweight or obese would do better by losing weight, previous research has found that obese patients with heart failure do better overall than those who aren't obese, said study author Dr. Valentina Kutyifa, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York.

To further understand that paradox, Kutyifa's team looked at the effects of unintended weight loss in patients with the CRT-D. The implanted device works by sending out small electronic impulses to correct the heart's rhythm. It also improves the ability of the heart to pump blood, which is a problem in those with congestive heart failure.

When dangerous rhythms are detected, the device shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm. The CRT-D makes up about one-third of all implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators, Kutyifa said.

"The more weight the patients lost, the worse the outcome was," Kutyifa said. "Over the whole follow-up of 29 months, those who lost 4.4 pounds or more had an 82 percent higher risk of heart failure or death."

Heart failure was defined as an episode severe enough that the patient had to go to the hospital.

Kutyifa is scheduled to present the findings Saturday at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in San Francisco. Data and conclusions presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

For the study, Kutyifa evaluated nearly 1,000 men and women with congestive heart failure who had a CRT-D implanted, and followed them for 29 months. At the start of the study, most p
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