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Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may not be as effective in women, according to new study findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

ICDs monitor the heart for irregular heartbeats and shock it back to its normal rhythm.

Researchers pooled data from five clinical trials of defibrillators, for the study. 4,744 participants (3,810 men, 934 women) with heart failure were included in the study. Some patients got ICDs surgically implanted while the other group got medical care that didn’t include an ICD.

Among the men with congestive heart failure and other heart disorders, the devices lowered the likelihood of sudden death. But the same benefit was not seen in women. In fact, the risk was no better – or worse- without an ICD.

“There isn’t much evidence to suggest these devices help prevent death in women with heart failure, although 30 percent of these devices are implanted in women,” said Dr. Rita Redberg of the University of California.

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