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New pacemaker reduces risk of heart failure

New study says heart failure victims who get a new kind of pacemaker have only half the usual risk of being hospitalized with worsening heart trouble.// The device, Medtronic's InSync pacemaker, has been implanted in more than 3,000 people in the US since its approval by the FDA.

It is intended for people with a particular form of heart failure, a debilitating illness in which people suffer shortness of breath because their hearts do not beat strongly enough. Overall, an estimated 5 million Americans have heart failure, and it is considered to be the only major form of heart trouble that is growing in prevalence.

The new pacemakers deliver an electrical impulse that synchronizes the ventricles so their walls pump in unison. Installing the pacemaker, which requires attaching three wires, can be tricky. On their first attempt, doctors often take 2 to 4 hours to cope up with them. But after they get more skilled, this falls to about an hour and a half. The procedure is successful in about 97 % of cases.

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