Arrhythmia implant turns vigorous athletic activity safe

By Enozia Vakil , May 28, 2013 08:23 AM EDT

People with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) faced the issue of not being able to participate in any kind of strenuous or vigorous physical activity. A new study from the researchers at Yale University is all set to change this.

This study revealed that many athletes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators could engage in vigorous athletic or physical activity without any potential physical injury or cardiac arrhythmia, despite the ICD shocks that may occur during the course of vigorous physical activity.

ICDs, which are basically tiny devices that deliver or pass a small jolt of electricity to the heart of patients suffering from arrhythmias when it detects an abnormality in the heartbeat, is actually the most potentially useful treatment tool being used today.

This study, published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, took into consideration 372 athletes suffering from arrhythmias and having the ICDs, all of which were between the ages of 10 to 60 years.

These study subjects were mostly known for their participation in organized and high-risk sports such as frequent running, basketball, soccer and more.

Close monitoring for a period lasting between 21 and 46 months revealed a surprising fact - there were absolutely no occurrences of shock-related injuries, cardiac arrest, resuscitated arrest or death during the participation of these sport activities.

This new discovery is valuable, given that the ICD managed to terminate all episodes of heart rhythm disturbances, even potentially life-threatening ones, and restored a normal heartbeat.

"This study will provide a basis for more informed physician and patient decision-making for athletes with ICDs who wish to participate in strenuous sports activities," study author Dr Rachel Lampert, associate professor of medicine at the Yale Sshool of Medicine, said.

Statistically, the study reveals that the freedom from potentially life-threatening malfunction was around 97% for patients upto 5 years after implantation of the ICD, and 90% upto 10 years after the implantation.

In conclusion, patients with ICDs can carry out vigorous physical activity with freedom , for at least 10 years after the implant.

This study was funded by Boston Scientific, Medtronic and St Jude Medical.

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