Report Reveals Lack of Discussion About Deactivation of Defibrillators Which May Cause Needless Pain to Patients Facing End of Life

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Newswise — New York, NY (September 26, 2011) - Both patients and providers need better knowledge about deactivating implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) at the end of life in order to prevent needless pain among terminally ill patients, according to a systematic review published in the October issue of the American Journal of Nursing (AJN). AJN, the leading voice of nursing since 1900, is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

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, electrical shock. However in a terminally ill patient, their deaths can be needlessly painful if the ICD delivers shocks during the active phase of dying.

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