We have seen the future, and it is old people. Seniors with implanted defibrillators are probably the closest thing we have to cyborgs right now, so it seems fair to say that any defibrillator-related news is a glimpse into our robotic future. And according to a new study in the journal Circulation, your Nananator’s gonna need regular software patches.
Implanted defibrillators monitor electrical signals from the heart, and if something goes awry in the heart, the defibrillator shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm. But sometimes something goes awry in the defibrillator itself. Specifically, the wires that connect the unit to the heart muscle sometimes break, causing unnecessary, painful shocks.
So researchers developed software to monitor the monitor, so to speak, looking for suspicious electric activity from the defibrillator itself. If the software noticed anything fishy, it would alert the patient and recalibrate the device in the hopes of decreasing the likelihood of an unnecessary shock. A newly released study of the effects of the software shows that those with the software were indeed, as hoped, much less likely to receive inappropriate shocks.
“You don’t wait to upgrade your operating system until you buy a new home computer,” said the lead author of the study, Charles Swerdlow, in a press release, “but prior to this people only got new software for defibrillators when the batteries ran low and they underwent surgery to implant a new device.” A year after the superior software was introduced, 30% of patients still had not downloaded it, even though the process is safe and painless. So don’t delay: take Grandma in for an update today.