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Reusing pacemakers from deceased patients is safe and effective, study finds
Date:12/6/2011

ni added: "Without pacemakers, these patients would pretty much be forced to remain on confined rest, due to cardiac fatigue."

Kulkarni was born and raised in Mumbai, and at the time of the study, was a medical student at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. He interviewed patients before and after they received pacemakers and collected data for the study. "There was a dramatic change in patients after they received their pacemakers," he said.

The Food and Drug Administration prohibits reusing pacemakers in the United States. But there is no prohibition against donating and reusing pacemakers in other countries.

Researchers reported that between January 2004 and January 2010, 121 pacemakers were removed and donated. (The devices were made by Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific.) Sixty pacemakers were selected because they had a battery life greater than three years, but seven were discarded due to further decay in battery life. The remaining 53 pacemakers were rigorously cleaned and sterilized. They were sent to Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai, which serves all patients, regardless of income.

There have been previous studies of reused pacemakers. But only one previous study involved the reuse of pacemakers donated by families in the United States. That study included 12 patients in the Philippines.

The authors conclude that reusing pacemakers could "alleviate the burden of symptomatic bradyarrhythmia (abnormally slow heart rate) in impoverished nations around the world."


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Contact: Jim Ritter
jritter@lumc.edu
708-216-2445
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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