ESC 2013: Pacemakers set life expectancy back to normal, researchers say

September 6, 2013 by Ingrid Mezo

Dutch researchers say cardiac pacemakers help restore normal life expectancy in certain patients at risk of early death.

Dutch study shows pacemakers for slow heart rhythm restore life expectancy

A slow heart rhythm puts patients at risk of early death, but a cardiac implant may help reset those odds, according to a Dutch study presented this week at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam.

A study of pacemakers in 23 Dutch hospitals found that devices implanted to treat slow heart rhythm helped restore normal life expectancy.

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Outcomes depended on whether patients also had cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Erik Udo, who presented the results at the ESC conference. The study helps shed light on an old mystery, Udo added.

"Previous studies describing the survival of pacemaker patients used data that is more than 20 years old and cannot be used anymore for patient counseling and benchmarking," Dr. Udo said in prepared remarks. "There have been considerable changes in pacemaker technology and in the profile of pacemaker patients and a new reference point of prognosis in modern day cardiac pacing was needed."

The Dutch FollowPace study spanned multiple centers and included 1,517 patients who received their 1st pacemaker for slow or irregular heart rhythm, known as bradycardia, between 2003 and 2007, following them for an average of 5.8 years.