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Doctors often unaware of defibrillator guidelines

New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 22, 2008
Doctors at Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center contend that few patients who could benefit from implantable defibrillators are getting the devices because their family doctors might not know when to recommend them. Studies have shown that as many as 80% of patients satisfying current guidelines for having an ICD implanted are not getting them, said Kara Quan, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at MetroHealth and lead author on the study. Quan sent out surveys to primary-care physicians in nine Northeast Ohio counties, asking specific questions about when to refer a patient for an ICD. She found that only one-quarter to one-third of family-practice physicians who responded were aware of the guidelines for referring their patients to have an ICD implanted.