Underagers with implantable defibrillators and pacemakers report having a lower quality of life than other kids, according to a new study, suggesting to researchers that implants ought to be coupled with support systems.
In the latest issue of Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, the investigators report that kids with ICDs posted quality-of-life scores in line with those who have serious congenital heart disease, well below the marks of healthy children and those with mild cardiac problems.
The findings should alarm physicians, the researchers wrote, and they suggest developing parallel coping strategies for kids who need the devices, including support programs and psychotherapy.
As MedPage Today reports, some hospitals have developed peer-to-peer networks for children with implanted devices, allowing them to share stories and support on Facebook, and the University of Iowa Children's Hospital hosts an annual conference for the kids.
While rates of pediatric implantation are on the rise for ICDs and pacers, very few studies have taken a look at resultant quality-of-life issues, the researchers say. The growing demand begs for a focus on patient satisfaction, according to the study, as more and more kids are saddled with devices meant to be lifesaving and not self-worth-harming.