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Authors

  1. Kirk, Timothy W. PhD

Abstract

For patients at the end of life, active automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (AICDs) may no longer achieve the treatment goals present at the time of implantation. It is possible to deactivate AICDs in patients with terminal and life-limiting diagnoses, thereby preventing the pain and distress of nontherapeutic discharge. This article presents a moral argument for the right of such patients to have their AICDs deactivated. It then explains that hospice and home care agencies have an obligation to address AICD deactivation at a policy level and offers recommendations for doing so.