Role of wearable and automatic external defibrillators in improving survival in patients at risk for sudden cardiac death

Byron K. Lee, MD, MAS Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Service, University of California, San Francisco, Division of Cardiology, 500 Parnassus Avenue, Box 1354, MU 429, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA. .
Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine 10/2009; 11(5):360-5. DOI: 10.1007/s11936-009-0036-2
Source: PubMed


Cardiac arrest is a vexing public health problem. Fortunately, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) have been proven to decrease overall mortality in several populations at high risk for cardiac arrest. However, it is still unclear how to treat patients who have an elevated risk of cardiac arrest but are not in one of the identified high-risk groups proven to benefit from an ICD. It also is uncertain how to manage high-risk patients who have an accepted indication for an ICD but are unable or unwilling to have an ICD. In these clinical situations, the wearable defibrillator and automatic external defibrillator are options that should be considered. Both devices have been shown in small series to be highly effective at restoring sinus rhythm in patients with a ventricular tachyarrhythmia. However, there is still a lack of large-scale trials proving that these devices should be employed routinely in specific high-risk patient populations.

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