Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

Heart: Implantable defibrillators: Simple fix may save lives

Small changes to the setting of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) can reduce inappropriate shocks and can lower the risk of death. This may help cut down on the problem of ICDs going off for heartbeats that aren’t dangerous or deadly. Unnecessary shocks can be painful, and there is some evidence that frequent inappropriate shocks weaken heart muscle and make a bad situation worse, increasing the risk of death. People with an ICD implanted in the past are advised to check with their doctors to find out if there is a need for the ICD settings to be adjusted. (Locked) More »

Some computer downloads for better health should be avoided

Health applications (apps) for mobile health are not yet regulated. That means there’s no way to know which apps are accurate and reliable and which are technological snake oil. Harvard experts warn against using cellphones to diagnose or treat any conditions. They recommend using health apps that act as a tracker or calculator. They also recommend checking to see who produces the app, how often the app is updated, and if it provides references for the information it offers. (Locked) More »

Building a better stent

Researchers are trying new ways to prevent stents from clogging with cells or attracting blood clots. Their goal is to develop a stent that can be used in any person to prevent a heart attack. Some new designs include stents coated with innovative drugs or two drugs, stents that expand to fit tightly against the artery wall, stents covered with mesh, and stents that dissolve after their coating is used up. (Locked) More »

Boost your hearing aid success

When buying a hearing aid, it’s easy to be distracted by price and technology. Experts recommend that consumers insist on hearing aids they can make too loud with no feedback, as well as a volume control to adjust the device to the desired loudness. Basic devices may have enough technology for a person’s needs. Sometimes a larger, more powerful aid will do the job better than a small device. Audiologists know dozens of tricks to make sure a hearing aid will be comfortable and work properly. Hearing aids purchased on the Internet do not come with the assistance of an audiologist to help make sure it’s properly adjusted. (Locked) More »

ECG? There's an app for that!

People with heart disease will soon be able to transmit information about their heart rhythm to their doctor's office using an iPhone app. (Locked) More »

High tech ways to better shoe fit

High-tech machines in specialty shoe stores can provide information that leads to buying a better-fitting shoe. Foot scanners are usually computerized mats that map the pressure points on the soles of the feet and determine a person’s arch type. Gait analyzers record the characteristics and support needs of feet in motion. A trained salesperson with an understanding of shoe construction and the mechanics of mobility must interpret the data from the tests to help get the fit just right. (Locked) More »

Vascular stent now, stable later?

Research shows that having a stent or stents put in now along with standard drug therapy significantly reduces the need for emergency interventions later, compared with treating stable CAD with medications alone. Determining when a stent is needed in someone with stable CAD and when medications and healthy lifestyle are still adequate depends on the severity of symptoms. Doctors consider the desired activity level of the individual (active versus sedentary), the type and number of blockages in the artery, and the presence or absence of other medical conditions, such as weak heart muscle. (Locked) More »

An easier way to replace a heart valve

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a new procedure that is making a big difference for people with aortic stenosis—severe narrowing of the main outlet valve from the heart (the aortic valve). Open-heart surgery has been the historical way to treat this problem. But some people aren’t candidates for such invasive surgery because of other serious medical conditions or older age. With TAVR, there’s no need to open the chest. Instead, a catheter takes the replacement valve through the leg artery to the heart. Patients who previously would have died are now being saved by this procedure. (Locked) More »

Reduce your stroke risk

It’s important to get obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) diagnosed and under control. OSA is a condition that occurs during sleep, when a person stops breathing for a few seconds because his or her airway is blocked. A person with untreated OSA has an increased risk of having a stroke, a fatal stroke, and a second stroke compared to those without sleep apnea. Treatment includes weight loss, oral appliances, surgery, and a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which uses air delivered through a mask to prevent the airway from closing. (Locked) More »