Background The application of a clinical magnet over an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be used to suspend tachycardia therapies in patients receiving recurrent or inappropriate shocks. In our institution, they have been routinely issued to patients undergoing ICD implantation during the past 5 years. The purpose of this survey was to investigate how well information concerning their use had been retained, and in what circumstances the magnets had been used.
Methods We sent a questionnaire to 476 patients, and received a response from 343 (72%). Data was collated using ‘Microsoft Excel’, cross-referenced against our own pacing database, and analysed using basic statistical methods.
Results 256 (74.6%) patients recalled being issued with a magnet. 48% of these were still in possession of their written information leaflet at the time of survey; 62% felt that they were able to remember when and how to use the magnet—with patients who had received written instructions and verbal reinforcement demonstrating the best recall. 8% of patients had used their magnets and the most common reason for use was multiple or inappropriate shocks. In addition, almost half of the patients who had suffered inappropriate shocks had been able to successfully use their magnets. No cases of harm related to magnet use were identified.
Conclusions The results of our survey suggest that routinely issuing clinical magnets to ICD patients is a safe and effective practice, and a small but significant number of patients were able to utilise their magnets in clinically important situations.
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