A test created by Harbinger Medical Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) aims to predict the risk of a patient's mortality, which also might indicate (or rule out) the need for an ICD. In a study performed by a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, the Wedensky Modulation Index
predicted 80% of the life-threatening irregular heartbeats from patients who already had already suffered heart attacks, according to the Star Tribune
. The system uses low-voltage electricity to stimulate the heart and compares the heartbeat to a healthy heart. Here's the difference--a heart in good condition will have a dramatic response to stimulation, and a diseased heart that is experiencing an arrythmia has little response.
Harbinger, a start-up company, wants to market the test by next year but hasn't received Medicare reimbursement yet. The test, which will cost between $200 and $300, could lead to lower ICD sales...