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New research by SHTAC into implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for arrhythmias and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) for heart failure

Published: 15 February 2012
Heart rhythm

SHTAC is assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ICDs for arrhythmias and CRT for heart failure, for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

SHTAC has recently started work on a systematic review and economic evaluation for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The study will assess the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for arrhythmias and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) for heart failure.

Arrhythmias occur when the heart contracts irregularly or at a faster or slower pace than normal and can cause sudden death.  An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small electronic device placed into the upper chest which aims to reduce the risk of sudden death by controlling the pace of the heartbeat, sensing for an irregular heartbeat and if necessary delivering shocks to the heart to return it to a normal rhythm (defibrillate).

In heart failure the heart does not work as efficiently as it should. Cardiac resynchronisation therapy involves a small electronic pacing device (CRT-P) which is put into the upper chest with wires within the heart to coordinate heart contraction and thereby improve heart function. People with heart failure may also be at risk from sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmia.  Those at greatest risk of experiencing an arrhythmia may benefit from a CRT device that can also defibrillate the heart (CRT-D).

NICE is expected to issue guidance to the NHS on the use of ICDs and CRT in September 2013.

For more information on SHTAC's research into heart disease, including previous work on ICDs, visit our Research page

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