For many years, ethical debate about pacemakers has focused on whether and under what circumstances they may be turned off in end of life care. Several other important ethical issues have been neglected, perhaps because the dilemmas they pose for cardiologists are not so immediate. These include: potential conflicts of interest, particularly those arising from the role of industry employed allied professionals (IEAPs) in pacemaker care; unanticipated impacts of commercial competition and the device improvement cycle; risks associated with remotely accessible software; equity in access to healthcare; and questions about reuse of explanted pacemakers in low and middle income countries. This paper analyses these issues in order to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to ethics and the cardiac pacemaker. Cardiologists should be aware of all of these issues and contribute to ongoing discussions about how they are resolved.
- Access to care
- Data security
- Industry employed allied professional