Navigation Links
Patients Often Ill-Informed on Impact of Heart Device

MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors often don't discuss the psychological impact and long-term risks of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) with their patients. This leaves people unaware of how seriously the devices can affect their quality of life, a new study finds.

Patients have this device implanted in their chest or abdomen to treat arrhythmia -- an abnormal heartbeat. The ICD provides electrical shocks to restore a normal heartbeat and prevent fatal cardiac arrest.

"Getting an ICD is clearly a life-changing event for the patient," study principal investigator Dr. Paul Hauptman, a professor of internal medicine at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "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."

The study involved 41 patients with ICDs and 11 cardiologists in three cities. The participants provided details on the discussions they had with their doctors before their ICD was implanted.

After receiving an ICD, many of the patients experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety and changes in their body image. They said these possible side effects were not mentioned in discussions they had with their doctor before the procedure.

Also after receiving the device, many patients had trouble performing routine physical labor. Others reported that they did not like air travel due to extra security screening at airports.

Eighty percent of patients said they did not discuss any possible long-term complications from an ICD with their doctor before the procedure. These patients also reported that they were not warned about any changes they could expect in their quality of life.

In conducting the study, the researchers also observed cardiologists informing "fake" patients about getting an ICD. The doctors focused on the device itself, and not how it would affect their patients.

"We were interested in how physicians communicate with patients and explain the impact of an expensive, invasive technology on quality of life," study co-principal investigator, Eric Armbrecht, director of consulting practice at Saint Louis University Center for Outcomes Research, explained in the news release. "This study revealed physicians talked more about the technology of the device instead of communicating the expectations patients should have from it."

Most study patients initially thought the ICD would provide a cure for their condition, but later realized that wasn't true.

"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."

The authors noted that some patients without a history of cardiac arrest or arrhythmia symptoms receive an ICD as part of a primary prevention strategy even though the device can lead to side effects, such as anxiety and depression. ICDs may also have mechanical defects, which could require additional procedures to replace parts.

Patients who have experienced a life-threatening arrhythmia benefit more from receiving an ICD as part of a secondary prevention strategy, according to the researchers.

"Seven to eight patients out of 100 will accrue a survival benefit when the ICD is implanted for primary rather than secondary prevention. The majority will not gain a survival benefit over standard of care," noted Hauptman. "Unfortunately, the screening methodology used to identify patients who are at risk of sudden death is not very good."

Doctors need a better way to communicate with their patients, the researchers concluded. "Physicians need tools and resources so they can counsel patients about ICDs in a more systematic, judicious and transparent manner," Armbrecht said.

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

The study was published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Saint Louis University Medical Center, news release, Feb. 18, 2013

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Doctors fail to communicate impact of heart devices with patients, SLU study finds
2. Atlanta LASIK Surgeon Announces Options for Patients with Astigmatism
3. The Woodlands, TX Periodontist, Dr. Gayle Bradshaw is Now Accepting New Patients For The Modern Bone Graft Procedure To Strengthen Jaw Bone For Dental Implants
4. Farmington, MI Dentist, Dr. Roman Shlafer Brings The New FDA Cleared Laser Dental Surgery To His Local Gum Disease Patients
5. Researchers at St. Michaels Hospital test tool for screening cancer patients for malnutrition
6. Yumi Media Reacts to Study Showing Benefits of Veganism for Fibromyalgia Patients
7. Patients Urged to Watch for Trouble After Colon Surgery
8. Tube versus IV feeding in malnourished pediatric cancer patients
9. Watch and Wait Approach Often Best for Older Patients With Kidney Cancer
10. Long Waits in the ER May Raise PTSD Risk for Heart Patients
11. Cardiovascular risk may remain for treated Cushings disease patients
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Patients Often Ill-Informed on Impact of Heart Device
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived ... eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the ... Care. For the full issue, click here . , For the American Society ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind ... able to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the ... solutions currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a ... such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain ... following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , ... Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, ... announced the five finalists of Lyme Innovation ... More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Research and Markets ... for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... Companion Diagnostics The World Market for Companion ... medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes the following: ... (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: