Reusing pacemakers

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Reusing pacemakers

Post by flyingcamel » December 13th, 2011, 9:23 am ... 001331.htm

Reusing pacemakers from deceased patients is safe and
effective, study finds

Devices donated to poor patients in India

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Many heart patients in India are too poor to afford pacemakers. But a study
has found that removing pacemakers from deceased Americans, resterilizing the devices and
implanting them in Indian patients "is very safe and effective."
Dr. Gaurav Kulkarni of Loyola University Medical Center is a co-author of the study, published
online ahead of print in the American Journal of Cardiology. Kulkarni helped conduct the
research before coming to Loyola while he was a medical student in India.
Fifty-three poor patients in Mumbai received pacemakers that had been donated by the
families of deceased Americans. Following operations to reimplant the devices, all Indian
patients were alive and doing well, researchers reported.
The Indian patients had severe heart rhythm disorders called complete heart block and sick
sinus syndrome. Typically, the slightest physical exertion would leave them gasping for breath
and exhausted. Without pacemakers, they likely would have died within weeks or months. But
in India, a pacemaker costs $2,200 to $6,600, which is well beyond the means of many
The pacemaker donations began as a philanthropic project. Physicians later decided to make
a formal study of the safety and effectiveness of the donated devices. At every step of the
study, patients gave informed consent. After receiving the reused pacemakers, they were
followed for an average of nearly two years. There were no infections or other significant
complications and no device failures. All but two patients reported marked improvement in
their symptoms.
Of four patients who were previously employed, all were able to return to their manual jobs.
Twenty-seven women said their symptoms had improved enough so they could resume
household chores.
"Implantation of donated permanent pacemakers can not only save lives, but also improve
quality of life of needy poor patients," researchers wrote.
Kulkarni added: "Without pacemakers, these patients would pretty much be forced to remain
on confined rest, due to cardiac fatigue."
Kulkarni was born and raised in Mumbai, and at the time of the study, was a medical student
at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. He interviewed patients before and after they
received pacemakers and collected data for the study. "There was a dramatic change in
patients after they received their pacemakers," he said.
The Food and Drug Administration prohibits reusing pacemakers in the United States. But
there is no prohibition against donating and reusing pacemakers in other countries.
Researchers reported that between January 2004 and January 2010, 121 pacemakers were
removed and donated. (The devices were made by Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston
Scientific.) Sixty pacemakers were selected because they had a battery life greater than three
years, but seven were discarded due to further decay in battery life. The remaining 53
pacemakers were rigorously cleaned and sterilized. They were sent to Holy Family Hospital in
Mumbai, which serves all patients, regardless of income.
Reusing pacemakers from deceased patients is safe and effectiv... Page 1 of 2 ... s-rpf12061... 12/13/2011
There have been previous studies of reused pacemakers. But only one previous study
involved the reuse of pacemakers donated by families in the United States. That study
included 12 patients in the Philippines.
The authors conclude that reusing pacemakers could "alleviate the burden of symptomatic
bradyarrhythmia (abnormally slow heart rate) in impoverished nations around the world."
Kulkarni now is a first-year resident in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University
Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Other co-authors are first author Bharat K. Kantharia, MD,
of the University of Texas Health Science Center; Sandeep S. Patel, MD, of Louisiana State
University; Arti N. Shah, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical School; Yash Lokhandwala, MD, of Holy
Family Hospital; Erica Mascarenhas of Notre Dame of Bethlehem School; and Daniel A.N.
Mascarenhas, MD, of Drexel University College of Medicine.
The authors expressed their gratitude to donors, family members, volunteers and others "who
contributed to this charitable project and toward the welfare of poor and needy patients of
India requiring cardiac permanent pacemakers."
Cameron Kaszas
Medtronic Technical Services

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Re: Reusing pacemakers

Post by Melissa » December 13th, 2011, 11:16 am

Interesting....if it's truly safe, I'm all for it!
Melissa - dx cardiomyopathy in 2004 due to childhood chemotherapy; Boston Scientific CRT-D implanted 8/10, meds: Toprol XL 100mg/day, aldactone 25mg/day. Second ICD implanted 3/18, also Boston Scientific CRT-D

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Re: Reusing pacemakers

Post by mrag » December 13th, 2011, 12:24 pm

Let us remember the University of Michigan project:
Recycle your Pacemakers!
Our Ultimate Goal: Recycle used pacemakers once regulator approvals are obtained. In the meantime, research is being conducted that will lay the groundwork for this potentially life-saving project.
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge" S Hawking

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Re: Reusing pacemakers

Post by Suzanne » December 13th, 2011, 7:22 pm

Excellent!! :D
~ Suzanne ~

St Jude ICD and Lead Implanted Feb.20/09
8 Shock Storm March 21/09
Lead Dislodged, so Replaced with Medtronic Lead June 16/09
ICD and Lead Explanted Nov.23/09
Medtronic Reveal XT (Cardiac Monitor) Implanted Jan.25/10...explanted and new one reinserted on July 21/11

Cardiac Monitor explanted Sept.9/14

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Re: Reusing pacemakers

Post by Donnahi » December 14th, 2011, 4:21 pm

I was looking for a donation and contacted someone from the university of michigan. And i think there do send already some of the collected pacemakers to other countries where it is legal to use them. I was looking for and icd but they do have only pacemakers to send.
For people here in mexico it is reusable a pacemaker even with a year or so, because we use it meantime we try to fine another with more attery left. If you want to help, you can save lives.

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