The leading professional group for doctors who implant heart-zapping defibrillators says it is cooperating in a Department of Justice investigation into proper use of the devices.
The Heart Rhythm Society says it is providing expertise in a civil probe involving defibrillators implants, which treat dangerous heart rhythms using electrical shocks. A spokeswoman for the group declined to give details.
The announcement comes two weeks after a medical journal article suggested one in five heart defibrillators may be implanted for questionable reasons. The devices are not recommended for newly diagnosed heart failure patients or those with short life expectancy. But those patients make up a fifth of the defibrillator population, according to the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Defibrillator manufacturers include Medtronic Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp.
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