The Cardiomyopathy Association has been invited to take part in preparing guidance on resuscitation and end of life care for patients with heart devices.
The guidance is being proposed by the Resuscitation Council, the British Cardiovascular Society and the National Council for Palliative Care.
The organisations want to prepare a joint statement on turning off and removing implanted heart devices towards the end of life, after life and during resuscitation. (CPR). The devices to be included are pacemakers, biventricular pacemakers, internal defibrillators (ICDs) and left ventricular assist devices.
In a statement, the project group said that the use of more implanted heart devices had provided considerable benefit to patients but also created new challenges for them, those close to them and medical staff caring for them.
When these patients developed terminal conditions, including for other conditions such as cancer, particular challenges could arise. “These require informed and sensitive discussion with patients and those close to them,” said a spokesman.
“Those involved in attempted resuscitation may not have details of the device, may not be familiar with it and unsure whether they should modify their approach to CPR or whether the device presents a risk to the people providing CPR.”
The groups saw the importance of providing clear and consistent advice to patients, those close to them and health professionals. They wanted to define appropriate standards of care and service provision.
As well as defining standards of practice for switching off and removing devices at the end of life, the document will provide guidance for health professionals on what, if any, special measures or precautions are appropriate during CPR.
The CMA has been invited to submit comments on the document at the final draft stage.
“All comments will be considered carefully by the project group before the joint statement is finalised and published,” said Dr David Pitcher, the group’s chairman, in a letter to the charity.
Other charities being asked to take part include the Association for Inherited Cardiac Conditions and the British Heart Foundation
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