Reused pacemakers cost-saving, safe option in Third World countries

May 20, 2010, American Heart Association

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.

Researchers examined pacemaker reuse compared with a control population of new device implantation in studies from Jan. 1, 1975 to July 1, 2009. They assessed complication rates, risk of infection, physiological complications and device malfunction.

In four trials with 603 patients, they found new implantation was associated with a 4 percent decrease in overall complications compared to reuse of previously implanted devices. However, the finding is not statistically significant.

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

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CarolinaScotsman
not rated yet May 20, 2010
Who collects the used pacemakers? How much money do they make? Is the "donor's" family informed? Does the recipient know the origin of the pacemaker? This brings up a myriad of ethical questions that the aricle does not touch on.

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