GE Healthcare misses out in US Medicare decision on ICDs (Implantable cardioverter defibrillators) coverage
This article was originally published in Clinica
US Medicare has finalised its plans to cover a test that will help doctors decide which patients are candidates for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). But the federal health plan has said that it will pay only for one version of the test, a product manufactured by tiny company Cambridge Heart, and not a second version made by GE Healthcare. The $400 test, known as microvolt T-wave alternans, detects extremely subtle electrical activity in the T-wave found on an electrocardiogram. Electrodes placed on a patient's chest detect beat-to-beat changes in the T-wave during a period of mild exercise. Software then analyses these microvolt changes, and produces a report to be interpreted by a physician. If the test is positive, the patient is considered to be at risk for sudden cardiac death and recommended for a defibrillator. If the test is negative, patients are at a very low risk of experiencing a life-threatening, irregular heart beat within two years.