(HealthDay News) — More physical activity is tied to living longer in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), according to a report published online May 15 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The research was published to coincide with presentation of the study results at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held from May 13–16 in Boston.

Matthew Reynolds, MD, a cardiologist at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA, and colleagues collected data on 98,437 patients with ICDs from across the United States. The researchers analyzed patient activity in the first 30–60 days after implantation and continued to follow up for four years. Patients in the study who had the highest activity level were active for about three hours a day. Activity recorded by the ICD includes general activity, such as walking.

The researchers found that survival after four years was significantly more likely among those in the most versus least active quintile of mean baseline activity. Thirty minutes per day less activity in a given month was associated with a 48% increased hazard for death when compared to a similar patient in the same month.

Reynolds thinks doctors can use the data on activity to identify patients with ICDs who are at increased risk of premature death. He told HealthDay that for patients, his advice is: “Get up and move. Fundamentally, people who are more active have better health.”

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