Patients who receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators need them, or at least that's the logical assumption. A new study suggests that there are severe consequences for recipients who don't need the devices.

January 5, 2011

1 Min Read
ICDs Used Too Much

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Duke researchers say that more than 20% of those who receive the device fall outside the established guidelines for use. This group has three times the risk of dying while hospitalized for the procedure as the other nearly 80%.

We've heard about recent reports that indicate the overuse of medical technology, but these researchers aren't necessarily against industry interests. In previous studies, lead researcher Sana Al-Khatib and her team have examined underuse of the devices—the result? Many patients who could benefit from the ICDs didn't get them.

But keeping this latest research in mind, what's really going on here? On one hand, critics can say that doctors are trying to make more money. On the other, maybe doctors are eager to keep their patients alive. What do you think? —Lawrence Lloyd

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