Should my sister have a pacemaker placed? She is 83 years old and in faily good health, I feel that much of her cardiac issues are drug induced by prescription drugs. She is not a candidate for open heart surgey and refuses extraordinary means, such as

If . If your sister has really gone into ‘v-fib’ twice, she may not be in as good of a health status as you may think. V-fib stands for ventricular fibrillation, a life threatening heart rhythm abnormalities from the bottom chambers of the heart that is so rapid and disorganized that the heart is essentially stops pumping blood out of the heart effectively and thus can lead to sudden and unexpected cardiac death. If v-fib persists, the only way to terminated it is to ‘shock the patient’ out of it with a defibrillator. The fact that you mention that she is not a candidate for ‘open heart surgery’ leads me to believe that she may suffer from with heart artery blockages, severe heart disease, or one of the many other serious heart problems. Unless your sister suffers from a relatively rare condition called ‘bradycardia-dependent v-fib’ (life threatening fat heart rhythm from the bottom chambers that are triggered from slow heart eat from the bottom chambers), chances are that your sister needs is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (icd), not a pacemaker. Icds are expensive devices that can be associated with complications such as death, stroke, heart attacks, infections, blood clots, rupture of blood vessels, perforation of the heart muscle, bleeding, etc. While the risk versus benefit ratio is unique to each patient, their condition, the expertise and experience of their physician and that of the he staff of the facility where the procedure is done, among selected patients, the procedural risk of these procedures is substantially less than the risk of not having it done. Icd can improve quality of life and life expectancy in the right patients.