Medical experts dispute a hospital's claims on heart device data

The New York Times, April 21, 2011

Several medical experts have disputed the basis for a Las Vegas hospital's claim that patients benefited when cardiologists there switched to heart devices made by a company that paid it consulting fees, saying data to support that claim did not exist. This month, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada said in a statement, "results to date show significantly improved outcomes for our cardiac patients" who got heart implants made by a little-known company, Biotronik. The statement was attributed to Kathleen Silver, the CEO of the hospital. Silver issued that statement after an article in The New York Times reported that cardiologists there switched in 2008 to using Biotronik devices after that company started paying them thousands of dollars in consulting fees. A hospital spokeswoman later said in response to a reporter's question that Silver's comments were based on data drawn from a national registry of heart patients who received an implanted defibrillator. University Medical Center also provided The Times with limited data from that registry that it said backed its contention.

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