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AHRQ and American College of Cardiology Collaborate On Study of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators
Date:1/28/2010

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A $3.5 million research project that will study the long-term benefits and risks of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in patients at risk of death from ventricular fibrillation will be supported by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the American College of Cardiology, the two groups announced today.  The project is being conducted in cooperation with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of HHS' National Institutes of Health.

Ventricular fibrillation is a dangerous type of abnormal heart rhythm that causes cardiac muscles in the ventricles in the heart to tremble rather than contract properly. The condition requires prompt attention; if the abnormal rhythm continues for more than a few seconds, blood circulation will cease, and sudden cardiac death may occur in minutes.

Patients at risk for ventricular fibrillation sometimes have ICDs implanted in their chests. These battery-powered devices, which are typically about 3 inches high and 2 inches wide, monitor the heart for abnormal heartbeats. If they detect potentially life-threatening rhythms, they deliver an electric shock to restore normal rhythm.

"This study will provide critically important data from the real world of everyday medicine to inform discussions about the long-term benefits of ICD use," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "This study is an excellent example of how government and the private sector can work together to advance research and improve the quality and safety of health care services."

The new 3 1/2-year study will be conducted by members of the AHRQ-supported HMO Research Network, a consortium of 15 health care delivery systems that conduct research on various topics, including medical effect
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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