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A 2006 registry of Medicare patients has found that 15% of doctors implanting defibrillators have had no formal training in the procedure. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (or ICD) is the small device implanted beneath the patient’s collarbone and connected to the heart through insulated wires. The device is designed to provide an electric shock to the heart if its rhythm is abnormal.

Since the study was undertaken Medicare patients only, the number of untrained doctors implanting defibrillators could be higher than 15%. If you or a loved one need a defibrillator, make sure you inquire as to the doctor’s credentials, training, and experience. Your life may depend on it.

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