12 May 2014

Men with insurance favoured for defibrillators

Men with health insurance are favoured when it comes to cardioverter defibrillator implants, which may prevent the best candidates from gaining access to this device.


Nearly all the US patients who receive implanted heart defibrillators have insurance and most of them are men, a new study reports.

"The striking results show that major disparities are present with [implantable cardioverter defibrillator] implants and this further highlights the importance of adhering to guidelines, so the best possible candidates have access to the life-saving device," said lead author Nileshkumar Patel, of Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

Patel's team of researchers analysed data from more than 160 000 implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) surgeries performed on adult patients between 2000 and 2011.

Enhancing quality of care

They found that nearly 95% of the procedures involved patients with insurance, and of those, men made up nearly 71 percent. Women with insurance accounted for about 24 percent.

The study was scheduled for presentation at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting in San Francisco.

The findings show the need "to look for new ways to enhance the quality of care and continue to educate on the safety and effectiveness of these devices," Patel added in a society news release.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Image: Defibrillator from Shutterstock

Read more:

New under-the-skin defibrillator approved
Implanted defibrillators cause sexual dysfunction

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