Panel issues care guidelines for heart implant patients

In the past, much of the discussion over implantable heart devices like pacemakers and defibrillators was over which patients were suitable candidates--and how to get health plans to pay for them. Today, however, now that two million people world-wide have such devices in their chests, the question is how to care for such patients properly over the long term.

To address such issues, an international panel of heart specialists have issued guidelines for caring for such patients. The guidelines, which were announced at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, address such issues as when to shut the device off in dying patients and stress the need for closer follow-up care.

The guidelines also encourage the use of wireless technology that allows physicians to monitor patients remotely, while the patient is still at home. A related five-year study presented at the meeting found that over five years, raising the volume of patients being remotely monitored from 94 to more than 5,000 didn't pose a big burden on clinic staff.

To learn more about the guidelines, and the Clinic's remote monitoring research:
- read this Associated Press article

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