Patients with implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), used to correct dangerous heart rhythms, compare getting a shock from the implants to a horse kicking them in the chest from the inside.
But a new study from researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that a simple tweak to the ICDs reduces those shocks and cuts deaths by 55%.
Programming ICDs to kick in when the heart rate goes up to 200 beats per minute, instead of the standard 170 beats per minute, reduces so-called inappropriate therapies by as much as 80% to 90%.
"But even more importantly it was associated with a 55% reduction in total mortality, and that's on top of the 40% reduction in mortality that you ordinarily see with the defibrillator," says Dr. Arthur Moss, who led the study and presented the data at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Los Angeles, CA.
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