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Doctors fail to communicate impact of heart devices with patients, SLU study finds
Date:2/18/2013

ST. LOUIS New research at Saint Louis University shows physicians do not talk to patients about the psychosocial impact and long-term risks of implanting cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) to treat irregular heart rhythms, leaving them misinformed about how the device may affect quality of life.

The article, titled 'Patient Perceptions, Physician Communication and the Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator,' was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine (formerly Archives of Internal Medicine) on February 18.

For the study, 41 patients with ICDs and 11 cardiologists were recruited by a national marketing research company in three metropolitan areas. The patients participated in focus groups in which they described the nature of discussions they had with their doctors before the device was implanted. Multiple patients reported experiences such as depression, anxiety and changes in body image, which doctors had not mentioned.

"Getting an ICD is clearly a life-changing event for the patient," said Paul Hauptman, M.D., principal investigator of the study and professor of internal medicine at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "Physicians not only have to point out the benefits of this device, but also let the patients know about its risks beyond those of the implantation procedure itself."

In addition to the focus groups, Hauptman and his collaborators observed (from behind a glass mirror wall) the content and style of communication of cardiologists who met with standardized patients, individuals who are trained to act as real patients to simulate a real patient encounter.

"We were interested in how physicians communicate with patients and explain the impact of an expensive, invasive technology on quality of life," said Eric Armbrecht, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and director of consulting practice at Saint Louis University Center for Outcomes Research (SLUCOR). "This study revealed physi
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Contact: Riya V. Anandwala
ranandwa@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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