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anti-tachycardia pacing


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  • anti-tachycardia pacing

    I thought this mite interest some of you

    Patients With Implantable Defibrillators Can Receive Safe, Painless Therapy For Most Fast Heart Rhythms, According To A New Clinical Trial

    "PainFREE Rx II" study showed that 81% of fast heart rhythms were terminated without the shocks that can diminish a patient's quality of life

    MINNEAPOLIS, October 18, 2004 – Even though shocks from implantable defibrillators save the lives of thousands of people each year, some patients say they experience anxiety or depression just thinking about them. But thanks to today’s sophisticated new devices, patients now have a clinically-proven alternative to shocks in most cases, according to an article published this week in CIRCULATION magazine, the official journal of the American Heart Association.

    Using a therapy called “anti-tachycardia pacing” (ATP) available in some of today’s more advanced implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), the devices can be programmed to deliver safe, painless therapy, with life-saving shocks delivered only when absolutely necessary. In the study, called PainFREE Rx II, anti-tachycardia pacing successfully terminated 81 percent of the rapid heartbeats when used as the initial therapy.

    Based on 634 patients, the study also demonstrated that those who received ATP therapy instead of shocks reported a significant improvement in their quality of life, without any increase in adverse events such as syncope (fainting), acceleration to other potentially harmful heart rhythms or sudden death. In fact, most patients who received ATP didn’t even know the therapy had occurred because ATP uses small bursts of low-power electrical pacing pulses to return the heart to normal rhythm.

    “We now have proof that most dangerous heart rhythms can be safely terminated without pain, and that ICDs can be programmed so that shocks are a last resort,” said Mark S. Wathen, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Electrophysiology Labs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and principle investigator of the trial. “Because of this study, the trial investigators strongly recommend ATP as the preferred therapy for most ICD patients.”

    In the past, physicians typically programmed ICDs to deliver shocks to correct abnormally fast heart rhythms in the dangerous 188-250 beats-per-minute range (Fast VT). However, the PainFREE Rx II study showed that, for most patients, ICDs can be programmed so that shocks are reserved for the more rare, extremely rapid heart rhythms of more than 250 beats per minute, commonly known as ventricular fibrillation (VF).

    “This study could lead to a major shift in how physicians use ICDs to practice state-of-the-art medicine for patients who are at risk for deadly heart rhythms,” added Dr. Wathen. “It’s important to note that many ICD patients still need the protection of shocks, but ATP therapy can be used safely and effectively as the initial therapy in most cases.”

    According to the study, this means that more patients who normally would have received uncomfortable shocks from their ICDs can have potentially-lethal heart rhythms terminated painlessly and successfully with a simple, non-invasive change in how the device is programmed.

    “The implications of this new study are enormous,” said Steve Mahle, president of Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Management. “We’ve known for a long time that ICDs save lives. Clinical trials keep reinforcing that. Now doctors can confidently program defibrillators so that their patients have all the protection they need, plus a vastly improved quality of life. Someday we may be able to make all shocks painless, but until that happens the next best thing is to reduce them as much as possible, to those times when it’s truly a life-saving situation.”

    Mahle also pointed out that not all ICDs on the market have the same combination of Fast VT detection and ATP capabilities, so it’s important that physicians and patients discuss their device options before the implant occurs.

    ATP can be programmed in most single-chamber or dual-chamber ICDs, and also in the newer cardiac resynchronization therapy ICDs for patients with heart failure. Another benefit associated with broader use of anti-tachycardia pacing is that fewer shocks lead to fewer capacitor charges. This has the potential to increase ICD battery life, which could result in fewer replacement procedures for patients.

    The PainFREE Rx II study was supported by a grant from Medtronic, Inc., and only Medtronic defibrillators, which have unique overlapping Fast VT and VF detection zones, were used in the study.

    Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a major public health problem and one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States. ICDs are 98 percent effective in terminating life-threatening heart rhythms and, when compared in clinical trials to commonly prescribed antiarrhythmic drugs, have been shown to improve survival up to 60 percent. However, despite this mounting evidence, less than 20 percent of all patients who are indicated for ICD use actually receive them, leaving hundreds of thousands of people at risk for sudden cardiac death.

    Medtronic, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world’s leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. Its Internet address is www.medtronic.com.

    Editor’s note: PainFREE Rx II stands for the Pacing Fast VT Reduces Shock Therapies trial.

    Any statements made about the company’s anticipated financial results and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 30, 2004. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.


    Chris King, Investor Relations, 763-505-2695

    Scott Papillon, Public Relations, 763-505-2632
    good heath to all

  • #2
    Re: anti-tachycardia pacing

    Thanks, Clint,

    I know that my Guidant is also set to pace me out of most arrhythmias, but this helped to explain it.



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