Defibrillator may improve survival rate in older patients

A new study has found older patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may reduce their risk of dying by 30 percent, even for those in their 70s.

Dr. Paul Chan, lead author of the study, said the research was the first to examine whether the benefits of the device in controlled clinical trials would apply to real-world patients "with multiple co-existing illnesses."

Defibrillator may improve survival rate in older patients

Approximately 500 patients were sectioned off into two groups: those who had ICDs and those who did not get the device implanted.

The median age of the participants was 67, which was seven years older than the subjects in an earlier study that investigated the use of ICDs in patients with heart failure and about three years older than participants in a study that reported on the use of ICDs in patients who had heart attacks.

In the non-ICD group, 238 deaths were reported, compared to the 108 in the ICD group.

"The ICD reduced all-cause mortality by 30 percent compared with patients who didn't receive ICDs," Chan said.

When researchers studied patients age 75 or older, they found that the level of survival benefit remained intact, but the benefit diminished when age was combined with multiple disease conditions.

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