Long-detection interval for ICDs helps avoid harmful shocks

Miniature electronic devices called implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) detect and terminate rapid, irregular beats in the heart's lower chambers (ventricles)—a problem known as ventricular fibrillation. While these little machines are a lifesaver for people prone to potentially deadly heartbeat disturbances, the shocks they deliver can be highly uncomfortable and even damaging.

A report in the July 22, 2014, Circulation showed that a programming strategy that delayed the time between the onset of an irregular heartbeat and the delivery of the electronic impulse could prevent unnecessary and inappropriate shocks in many cases.

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