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Medtronic atrial fibrillation system shines in study


4 Star

Medtronic atrial fibrillation system shines in study

Our Review Summary

This story reports on results from a preliminary study for a device in development to treat atrial fibrillation.  Although it appears to be intended as a business story, we think shareholders would care about cost and comparisons with existing alternatives as much as patients and consumers should care about these. 


Why This Matters

Since the story acknowledged that a competing device was already on the market, it wouldn’t have required much more work to do some comparative analysis – especially if our call for an independent expert’s perspective was heeded.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

 There was no discussion of costs.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


 The story did provide insight about the difference in heart attack, stroke and death in the groups taking medication alone or those who had received treatment with this device.  However, since the story did note that there is currently a device on the market, it would have been helpful to readers to provide information about treatment with the other device affects the rate at which these things occur.  A comparison of effectiveness would provide insight as to the relative merit for this new device.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


 The story did mention several of the harms associated with the use of this device along with the incidence with which they were observed.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


There was adequate discussion of the evidence and that the main limitation of this study was its small size. 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


There was no overt disease-mongering of atrial fibrillation.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

 There were no independent sources interviewed to discuss the potential of this device to affect outcomes and patient care.  This is a problem.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

 While mentioning that Johnson and Johnson had an ablation device approved for use in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, there was no discussion about how the results obtained with the Medtronic device compared.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


 Towards the end, the story mentions that the treatment device discussed is not yet approved for use, though a device made by a different company (Johnson and Johnson) has been used to treat AF for years.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


Towards the end of the story, there was a clear statement that there is another device on the market that has been used for a long time in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure of the extent to which this story was influenced by a new release, so we judge this criterion Not Applicable.

Total Score: 6 of 9 Satisfactory


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