University of Rochester Medical Center researchers said the results came from a 4 1/2-year clinical trial that involved more than 1,800 patients in the United States, Canada and Europe. Some of the patients used an implanted cardiac resynchronization therapy device with defibrillator and some were given only an implanted cardiac defibrillator.
The study, led by Dr. Arthur Moss, ended last week.
A prior study by Moss and associates in 2002 showed implantable cardiac defibrillators were effective in reducing mortality. The new study sought to determine if cardiac resynchronization devices with defibrillators could reduce the risk of mortality as well as heart failure.
Moss said the results are very positive.
"Now we can prevent sudden cardiac death and inhibit the development of heart failure, thus improving survival and outcome in patients with heart disease," Moss said. "There is a very large population of patients with heart disease who will benefit from this combined therapy."