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A new study on over 100,000 patients found that over one in five who received heart defibrillator implants shouldn’t have, based on best practice guidelines. The implants require surgery, with a risk of complications, and cost about $25,000 each. Not only was the surgery risky and expensive, but the 22% of patients who should not have received implants were at significantly higher risk for in-hospital death than appropriately treated patients – four more deaths per 1,000 patients when the devices were implanted contrary to guidelines. The chance that a patient would receive an implant contrary to best practice guidelines was significantly different depending on the specialty of their physician. More evidence that we are being overtreated and it is compromising our health.
Ellen Andrews