Questions about quality, durability, and features come to us as a no-brainer when we’re considering a new cell phone, HDTV or digital camera. But why don’t we give it a second thought when it comes to ICDs?
When we get our first implant, we're usually not asked. Most of us don’t even know that there are choices. But some doctors only implant Guidants. Others only work with Medtronic. Are we comfortable leaving this decision up to our doctors?
I get it that most of us (me included) wouldn’t be able to pick the model of ICD most indicated for our condition, but we should at least be able to tell which device:
- • Uses the best battery technology (because the ICD will last longer),
• Has the shortest charging time (because the ICD will defibrillate you before you pass out and hit your head on the bathroom sink)
• Will not pace you unnecessarily (because excessive ventricular pacing will increase your risk of heart failure.)
Even features that at first glance may seem like an unnecessary luxury, such as wireless telemetry, might make a huge difference for the 1% to 2% of patients who will develop an infection after the implantation. (Wireless telemetry eliminates the need for the programming wand in the sterile field.) So, did you request a wireless device?
Or are all devices pretty much the same and I just need to calm down?