Don’t Cut Lifesaving ICDs During Financial Crisis, ESC Warns
What happens when the “single payer” has no money to spare? THIS. It’s not a panacea just because it’s better than what we have now. It’s just not that simple.
Don’t cut lifesaving ICDs during financial crisis, ESC warns
Implantable devices for treating cardiac arrhythmias, which include ICDs, are already underused in parts of Eastern and Central Europe and there is a risk that the financial crisis could exacerbate the problem. The European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), a registered branch of the ESC, is tackling this issue through ICD for Life. The initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of ICDs and sudden cardiac death in countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
ICD implantation rates in Europe vary widely, ranging from 1 ICD implantation per million inhabitants in Ukraine to 326 in Germany. Treatment gaps between East and West exist for other cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) including implantable pulse generators (IPGs, also called pacemakers) and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices.
“This is becoming challenging in a day where the global economy is shrinking and Europe is even more under pressure now,” said Professor Angelo Auricchio (Switzerland), president of EHRA. “Usually the first things that are cut in the national budgets across Europe are implantable therapies because they are a long term investment. You have to implant an expensive device for which the return will be seen in 4 to 10 years.”
He added: “I’m very afraid that in the bad European economic situation it will become even more challenging to properly treat patients who need implantable devices. With our initiative we hope to raise awareness about the importance of implantable devices and sudden cardiac death so that cash strapped governments do not cut these very important and proven therapies.”