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House Call: Advances in Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death: Implantable Defibrillators

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Each year, more than 250, 000 people in the U.S. die suddenly from cardiac arrest.  Often, the cause of sudden cardiac death is due to a life-threatening irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). 

More: PDF: Matters of the Heart Event

With major advancements in technologies, more and more sudden cardiac deaths are being prevented through the use of implantable defibrillators, which can detect these life-threatening rhythms.  Implantable defibrillators are now being used in patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death. 

Those at high risk include individuals with weak hearts (often due to prior heart attacks), significantly depressed heart function, certain hereditary heart conditions, and those who have been resuscitated from prior sudden cardiac arrest. 

In the past, implantable defibrillators were only used in patients who had been resuscitated from a sudden cardiac arrest, and the devices were much larger, with shorter battery life.  Now the device is much smaller, with a longer battery life, and is being used to prevent the first sudden cardiac arrest. 

Cone Health has an exceptional network of cardiologists and related healthcare providers dedicated to preventing and treating sudden cardiac death using the latest, cutting-edge advancements in the medical field.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. James Allred is a cardiologist and member of the Cone Health medical staff.  He is a 2002 graduate of Medical College of Virginia, completing a residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center.  Dr. Allred is a leading expert in electrophysiology and treating arrhythmia, completing a fellowship in cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology at University Alabama-Birmingham.