Thursday, October 08, 2009

Going Green With Pacemakers

... and considering their re-use:
Patients who received refurbished pacemakers donated from Detroit area funeral homes survived without complications from the devices, according to a case series reported by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

The pacemakers were implanted in 12 patients at the University of Philippines- Philippine General Hospital who could not afford advanced cardiac care and were confined to their beds as they waited for a permanent pacemaker.
It seems a clinical trial might occur to test the safety of using used pacemakers here in the US:
In the next phase, the U-M Cardiovascular Center will seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to embark on a large scale clinical trial to show that pacemaker reuse is safe and effective.
It'll be interesting to see how the enrollment in such a trial proceeds. I suspect it might be a bit rough as long as the devices are covered by peoples' insurance.

But for those who are underinsured or uninsured...



Jay said...

Love this. But . . . good luck getting this going in the US. I'll be flabbergasted if this goes anywhere.

The political battle over EP catheter reuse was fought and lost years ago and the lawyers won. See for an inflammatory article a few years ago that featured our hospital (as staunch catheter reuse advocates).

Things have now gotten so ridiculous around here that we're not even allowed to reuse pacemaker set screw wrenches.


Anonymous said...

Surely there is a way to institute a program that would encourage patients to opt for a re-cycled pacemaker. Something like - a recycled pacemaker results in so much savings and the patient gets 25% ? 50% ? of those savings.