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ICD implants at risk during financial crisis

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may be subject to excessive cuts during the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, European Society of Cardiology (ESC) leaders warned recently.

The new ‘ICD for Life’ campaign from the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) aims to raise awareness about the importance of ICDs and sudden cardiac death in countries in Central and Eastern Europe, claiming that underuse of ICDs could be exacerbated by the financial crisis.

“This is becoming challenging in a day where the global economy is shrinking and Europe is even more under pressure now,” said Professor Angelo Auricchio (Switzerland), president of EHRA. “Usually the first things that are cut in the national budgets across Europe are implantable therapies because they are a long term investment. You have to implant an expensive device for which the return will be seen in 4 to 10 years”.

He added: “I’m very afraid that in the bad European economic situation it will become even more challenging to properly treat patients who need implantable devices. With our initiative we hope to raise awareness about the importance of implantable devices and sudden cardiac death so that cash strapped governments do not cut these very important and proven therapies”.

Professor Angelo Auricchio

Professor Angelo Auricchio

An EHRA ICD for Life Summit will be held in Belgrade, Serbia,19–20 October, to discuss challenges and unmet needs in Central and Eastern European countries. The Summit is targeted at politicians, health insurance companies, policy makers, representatives of health ministries, arrhythmologists and electrophysiologists.

“Our aim is to convince the decision makers that this is a part of cardiology which needs better financing, and that they will get a return on their investment in terms of decreasing mortality,” said Professor Robert Hatala (Slovakia), chair of the EHRA National Societies Committee. “The scientific evidence that these therapies are not a luxury but a highly efficient therapy with no alternatives is very powerful”.

An expected outcome of the Summit is that each country will identify its own obstacles to treating patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices and catheter ablation. EHRA will then suggest solutions, which may include training doctors to implant devices and perform catheter ablation. Central European countries, primarily Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, who have successfully established arrhythmia programmes under difficult conditions in the last 10–15  years will provide mentoring , hands on training and on-site support.

For further information on the ICD for Life Summit, please click here.

Published on: September 27, 2012

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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