11:05pm Sunday 24 September 2017

Perspectives on Withdrawing Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators at End of Life Vary Substantially

“Almost one-third of medical professionals surveyed considered withdrawal of a pacemaker in a pacemaker-dependent patient as physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, but only a very small percentage believed the same about an ICD,” says Samuel Asirvatham, M.D., lead author and cardiologist, Mayo Clinic. The article noted that legal professionals tend to view all devices as similar and saw little difference between withdrawal of an ICD and withdrawal of a pacemaker.

“Education and discussion of managing devices at the end of life are important when making end-of-life decisions to better understand patients’ perceptions and expectations,” says Dr. Asirvatham.

A peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally. Articles are available online.

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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of “the needs of the patient come first.” More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visit www.mayo.edu. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.


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