Beyond Heart Rhythms: New Directions for Implantable Devices
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Implantable cardiac devices have become firmly entrenched as important therapeutic tools for a variety of conditions. Pacemakers are the only available treatment for symptomatic bradycardia not due to reversible causes. Large randomized studies have demonstrated a small but statistically significant reduction in atrial fibrillation associated with pacing modes that maintain atrioventricular synchrony. In contrast, pacing mode appears to have a less dramatic effect in patients with atrioventricular block. Cardiac resynchronization with specialized left ventricular leads has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve survival in patients with symptomatic heart failure, systolic dysfunction, and widened QRS complexes. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator has become the standard therapy for protecting patients against sudden cardiac death. Two recent trials, Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Trial II (MADIT II) and the Sudden Cardiac Death Heart Failure Trial (SCD-HEFT), demonstrated that the ICD is associated with a significant survival benefit for patients with reduced ejection fraction (< 0.30–0.35) particularly if heart failure symptoms are present. Finally the implantable loop recorder has become an important diagnostic tool for the patient with unexplained syncope. This brief overview summarizes the indications and follow-up of the wide array of implantable cardiac devices available to the clinical cardiologist.
Key Wordsimplantable devices pacemakers
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