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Medical News and Perspectives
January 10, 2007

Death Not Necessarily End for Heart Devices

JAMA. 2007;297(2):144-145. doi:10.1001/jama.297.2.144

Chicago—When the owner of an implantable cardiac device dies, the device is typically buried along with the body. Yet these small machines could serve further purposes if they were removed.

Device manufacturers are interested in obtaining used pacemakers and implantable defibrillators for quality assessment and improvement. The research community wants them to determine their reliability and failure risk—important data following massive recalls over safety concerns in 2005. Veterinarians could use them in animals. And at least one charitable organization is willing to send them to developing countries for reuse in patients who otherwise would be unable to receive these potentially life-saving devices.

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