Researchers evaluated Medicare data from 2004 to 2013, finding 1,013 patients aged 65 or older who faced implantable cardioverter defibrillator or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator replacement due to a soon-to-expire battery. The results were published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Ninety-two percent of patients received 1 revision over 8 years, with the individual cost coming in at an average $183,000, according to the study. Eight percent had multiple generator replacement procedures, at an average cost of $213,000.
A preliminary cost analysis of post-surgery health problems showed that "complications were also a significant financial burden," according to the study. The researchers are continuing to look at costs for individual post-surgical infections such as sepsis and endocarditis, as well as other complications such as cardiac perforation and hematoma.
The research team said it’s imperative to find a way to reduce cardiac implant revisions surgeries due to battery expiration.
"Minimizing the number of revisions will reduce the financial burden of [cardiac implantable electronic device replacement] procedures," they wrote.
Boston Scientific is a major player in the implantable cardiac device space. The Massachusetts medical device stalwart is also working at extending the battery life of its devices. In February, the company said it was launching a new ICD line with battery technology designed to last close to 12 years – much longer than the industry norm.