Original Research: Deactivation of ICDs at the End of Life: A Systematic Review of Clinical Practices and Provider and Patient Attitudes
Russo, James E
The American journal of nursing 2011 Oct; 111(10): 26-35
The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) has become a standard treatment for people at risk for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. To restore normal heart rhythm, the ICD delivers a high-energy, painful electrical shock. Because the device is so effective in treating sudden cardiac arrest, people with ICDs are more likely to die from other causes. But their deaths can be needlessly painful if the ICD delivers shocks during the active phase of dying. Although device deactivation is an option, no formal practice protocols address this, and advance planning discussions don't often include potential ICD deactivation.
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