Friday, May 14, 2010

2 great medical technology articles in this week's NEJM

This week's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has some great articles that focus on medical technology. The first is titled, "Robot-Assisted Therapy for Long-Term Upper-Limb Impairment after Stroke." In this study, the investigators found:
In patients with long-term upper-limb deficits after stroke, robot-assisted therapy did not significantly improve motor function at 12 weeks, as compared with usual care or intensive therapy. In secondary analyses, robot-assisted therapy improved outcomes over 36 weeks as compared with usual care but not with intensive therapy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00372411 [ClinicalTrials.gov] .)
The other fascinating article is titled, "An Entirely Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter–Defibrillator." We're not just talking about the body of the defibrillator. We're also talking about the leads. Can you imagine a defibrillator that doesn't require transvenous leads? Here's what the authors found:
In small, nonrandomized studies, an entirely subcutaneous ICD consistently detected and converted ventricular fibrillation induced during electrophysiological testing. The device also successfully detected and treated all 12 episodes of spontaneous, sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmia. (ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00399217 [ClinicalTrials.gov]  and NCT00853645 [ClinicalTrials.gov] .)
It's great to see how technology is changing the way we practice medicine. To read these articles, visit the NEJM (May 13, 2010 issue).

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