Pacemakers may have more problems than you thought

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A pacemaker is a lifesaving device, about the size of a matchbox, implanted in the body to regulate the heart’s rhythm.

In the United States alone, approximately 3 million people benefit from its life-altering technology.

However, like with any medical device, complications can arise post-implantation.

Understanding Lead-Related Venous Obstruction

One such complication is called lead-related venous obstruction (LRVO). Pacemakers function by sending electrical signals to the heart via thin wires known as leads.

LRVO occurs when scar tissue forms around these leads or when blood clots develop, impeding normal blood flow and potentially causing pain or swelling.

Understanding the frequency and implications of LRVO is critical given the sheer number of pacemaker patients. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center took up this challenge in a recent study.

They studied an extensive sample of nearly 650,000 people aged 65 and over who had a pacemaker implanted between 2016 and 2020.

The startling result was that 5% (or more than 28,000) developed LRVO within five years post-implantation.

The study further revealed that people with kidney disease, anemia, and those of Black ethnicity were more prone to LRVO.

Interestingly, patients with multiple leads in their pacemakers were also at higher risk of experiencing LRVO.

Current Treatments for LRVO

How did the medical professionals manage these LRVO cases? Astonishingly, in 85% of cases, doctors adopted a ‘wait and watch’ approach rather than intervening.

In the remaining 15% where intervention was sought, 75% had their pacemakers removed.

These findings highlight the pressing need for more research in LRVO treatment strategies.

Of the patients who had their pacemakers removed, a mere 2% received a leadless pacemaker – a device that resides entirely within the heart, thus eliminating the need for leads.

Could this be the future solution to avoid LRVO? More research is required.

Conclusion: Prioritizing LRVO Research

The implications of LRVO are far more common than anticipated, and it can pose significant challenges for individuals with pacemakers.

As such, a deeper understanding of the condition, effective treatments, and comprehensive patient and physician awareness are crucial.

Although there’s much more to learn, this study has undoubtedly brought us a step closer to unraveling the mystery of LRVO.

In the meantime, for a healthy heart, consider reading about the crucial role of diet and medication in heart disease prevention and management.

You can find intriguing studies about heart disease causes heart rhythm disturbances due to common meds, the heart benefits of eating eggs, and the role of Vitamin K2 in reducing heart disease risk.

Please note that the above-mentioned study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to a higher risk of heart failure, and results showing this drug could reduce heart disease, fatty liver, and obesity.

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