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

at airports.

The study also found that most patients viewed the implantation as a cure, but soon realized that wasn't the case.

"Patients reported that their physicians described the device as a safety net, calling it absolutely necessary. We found that many patients end up having unrealistic expectations of what the technology is going to do for them," Armbrecht said.

"For moral, ethical and economic reasons, patients need to be equipped to make informed decisions about their own health. As health care continues using more expensive, complicated and invasive technologies like ICDs, it is imperative that the health care system assures patients have all of the information they need to make a decision."

Hauptman and colleagues have previously investigated the predictors of short term mortality with ICD implants and described national trends in use of these devices in the elderly, including octogenarians.

In the current study, the researchers found that cardiologists place more emphasis on the procedure of implanting the device, which is a low-risk process by itself, than on the effects of the device on the patient's life after implantation. They propose an initiative that would provide cardiologists with a better way to communicate with their patients.

"Physicians need tools and resources so they can counsel patients about ICDs in a more systematic, judicious and transparent manner," Armbrecht said.

"Cardiologists need to be trained in communication with patients that will promote informed decision making and preempt threats to patient quality of life," Hauptman added.


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Contact: Riya V. Anandwala
ranandwa@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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