Implantable defibrillators for prevention of sudden death. Technology at a medical and economic crossroad.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy is now widely used for the treatment of symptomatic patients with documented or suspected life-threatening VTs. Although sudden death recurrence in ICD recipients is virtually eliminated, the extent of benefit both with respect to cardiac mortality and total survival in this patient population remains to be accurately quantitated, particularly vis-à-vis alternative antiarrhythmic therapies. Advanced device and lead systems can be expected to further improve both patient survival and quality of life after implant. The economic impact of unrestrained proliferation in ICD therapy can be enormous; however, available cost-benefit analyses support judicious use of this therapy with comparable economic impact to other accepted cardiovascular therapies. Such prospective risk stratification becomes economically essential when considering expanding its application to asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic populations at potential risk for future cardiac arrest.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association