Tuesday, November 02, 2010
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers found that the majority of medical professionals and patients feel implantable cardiac device (ICD) therapy should be withdrawn based on the patient's right to refuse continued life-sustaining therapy at the end of life.
"Almost one-third of medical professionals surveyed considered withdrawal of a pacemaker in a pacemaker-dependent patient as physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, but only a very small percentage believed the same about an ICD," says Samuel Asirvatham, M.D., lead author and cardiologist, Mayo Clinic. The article noted that legal professionals tend to view all devices as similar and saw little difference between withdrawal of an ICD and withdrawal of a pacemaker.
"Education and discussion of managing devices at the end of life are important when making end-of-life decisions to better understand patients' perceptions and expectations," says Dr. Asirvatham.
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