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Study: Hospitals are underusing cardiac devices

Bloomberg News/Boston Globe, August 12, 2008
Fewer than half of eligible U.S. patients received medical devices to shock their faulty hearts back into rhythm, though the products can cut death rates by more than one-third, according to a study. Hospitals implanted the $33,000 cardiac resynchronization therapy devices in 12.4% of heart failure patients, according to a survey of 34,000 cases. Cost is a factor at some hospitals, as is the lack of trained specialists to implant the devices and physicians' reluctance to embrace the relatively new technology, say the study's authors.