Older people can get greater benefits from having implantable cardioverter-defibrillators like young people, according to a new study.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device that is placed inside the chest to administer electric shocks to restore normal heart rhythm if a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia is detected.
The results indicate that the state of health and not only the age of a person, should be used to predict whether a patient will benefit from receiving this type of device and help determine who should receive one, say the authors of the study, published on June 17 in the magazine Circulation .
"The main reason for controversy and research on the subject is whether elderly patients benefit from the devices," said the lead author Douglas Lee, scientist at the Institute of Clinical Evaluation Sciences and cardiologist at the Peter Munk Heart Center in Toronto .
"The issue is important, as the population ages and the number of elderly people living with heart disease grows."
Lee's team observed almost five thousand 400 patients with implanted devices. The patients had poor heart function due to heart failure or a heart attack before, or after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest.
Among people who received the implanted device with heart failure or after a heart attack, 38% were 70 years or older and 7% were 80 or older. Among those who received the device after surviving a cardiac arrest, 42% were 70 years or older and almost 11% were 80 years old.
"Older patients were more likely to experience an adequate electrical shock from the device to treat a potentially fatal heart rhythm," said Lee, who is also an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.
"However, elderly patients experienced more hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease and higher associated mortality rates in general."
For example, among patients receiving an ICD to prevent cardiac arrest, the mortality rate among patients aged 18 to 49 years was two per 100 patients, compared to 10 per 100 patients among people aged 80 years. or more.