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Patients who received donated pacemakers survive without complications
Date:10/8/2009

seen a drop in deaths from heart attacks and strokes, but those in low- and middle-income nations continue to experience an epidemic of cardiovascular disease.

The prevalence of cardiovascular disease is expected to increase 137 percent between 1990 and 2020 for those living in low- and middle- income countries, authors write. It's estimated that as many as 1 million people worldwide die annually from slow heart rates.

"Many of these countries lack the financial resources to address this epidemic of cardiovascular disease," says co-author Hakan Oral, M.D., director of electrophysiology at the U-M cardiovascular center. "As a result, resources are often directed away from high-cost treatment strategies, such as implantable cardiac rhythmn management devices."

Pacemakers and other implantable cardiac devices are implanted to regulate an irregular or slow heart beat, or act as an insurance policy by automatically shocking the heart back to a normal rhythm. They can last up to 10 years and cost $10,000 to $50,000.

Only pacemakers with 70 percent battery life were included in the study and informed consent was obtained from all patients' families in order to remove and donate the pacemakers after death. A total of 50 pacemakers were donated by funeral homes to WMR. Of them, 12 with adequate battery life were implanted in poor patients at Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

U-M is exploring partnerships with the Philippine General, Vietnam Heart Institute in Hanoi, and Komfo Medical Center in Ghana, which is in the process of developing an arrhythmia therapy program, for allocation of used pacemakers. The international hospitals have had on-site reviews for quality and clinical excellence by U-M cardiology experts.

In the next phase, the U-M Cardiovascular Center will seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to embark on a large scale clinical trial to show that pacemaker reuse is safe and effec
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Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
smkirk@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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