Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

A device to prevent heart failure is twice as effective in women

Women tend to develop heart disease about 10 years later than men. Because women develop heart disease later, they're more likely to have coexisting conditions, like diabetes, which can complicate treatment and recovery. And because they have smaller hearts and coronary vessels, surgery can be more difficult for them. Women are more likely to die after procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty. A study suggests that one treatment for heart failure actually works better in women than men. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Nuclear stress tests

I recently had a nuclear stress test and the contrast agent got stuck in my gut, so the image couldn't be read. Is this a common problem, and is there anything that can be done about it? (Locked) More »

Recycling effort keeps hearts ticking

A program is collecting and donating medical goods, including pacemakers and other implanted devices, to people in less-developed countries who would not be able to afford them. (Locked) More »

Shocking news: Overdoing ICDs

Concern about possible overuse of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator devices has led to a reevaluation of their benefits and risks. According to some critiques, ICDs might have been given too much credit for preventing deaths in key clinical trials, when other factors, such as the use of beta blockers, might have been responsible. Others have pointed out that the management of heart failure has improved because of wider use of beta blockers and ACE inhibitor drugs, so the risk of fatal ventricular arrhythmias in heart failure patients has decreased, very possibly making ICDs less useful than they once were. Confidence in ICDs has also been undercut in recent years by recalls of flawed devices. Some doctors have also called for more discussion and consideration of the various drawbacks and complications of ICDs. For example, perhaps as many as one out of every five ICD patients receives an "inappropriate shock" from the device that's triggered by something other than a serious ventricular arrhythmia. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Could getting a pacemaker have damaged my vagus nerve?

I recently had a pacemaker implanted. While the process was going on, I felt a pulsation that I reported to the doctor. I still feel it seven months later. Other symptoms include low blood pressure, an increase in weight, and digestive changes. My primary care doctor thinks that my vagus nerve could have been damaged when the pacemaker was implanted. Is that possible? (Locked) More »

January 2011 references and further reading

Kvaavik E, Batty GD, Ursin G, Huxley R, Gale CR. Influence of individual and combined health behaviors on total and cause-specific mortality in men and women: the United Kingdom health and lifestyle survey. Archives of Internal Medicine 2010; 170:711-8. Myint PK, Luben RN, Wareham NJ, Bingham SA, Khaw KT. Combined effect of health behaviours and risk of first ever stroke in 20,040 men and women over 11 years' follow-up in Norfolk cohort of European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC Norfolk). BMJ 2009; 338:b349. Chiuve SE, McCullough ML, Sacks FM, Rimm EB. Healthy lifestyle factors in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease among men: benefits among users and nonusers of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications. Circulation 2006; 114:160-7. (Locked) More »