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Reused Pacemakers Save Costs, Lives In Third World Countries

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 7:19am

Pacemaker reuse may be a safe, effective and ethical alternative to address the medical needs for people in Third World countries who couldn't otherwise afford therapy, according to a new study unveiled by the American Heart Association.

Researchers examined pacemaker reuse compared with a control population of new device implantation in studies from 1975 to 2009. They assessed complication rates, risk of infection, physiological complications and device malfunction. In four trials with 603 patients, they found new pacemaker implantation was associated with a four percent decrease in overall complications compared to reuse of previously implanted devices.

They also found no increased risk of infection, physiological complications or device malfunction. There were no device-related deaths among those who received reused pacemakers.

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