A study by the The Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who received defibrillators and other heart devices from electrophysiologist, the name for a cardiologist formally trained in device use, had a the lowest rate of complications after surgery. 70% of the surgeries studied were performed by electrophysiologist. The others were done by other types of cardiologists or other kinds of doctors, including thoracic surgeons.
The reason for this study came from the rising rates of the American population getting defibrillators. To raise sales some manufacturers are funding training courses for doctors other than electrophysiologist to perform the surgery. A 2006 New York Times article states that one small heart device manufacturer, Biotronik, spent more than $50,000 to provide implant training to several South Carolina doctors, who then tended to use mainly Biotronik devices on their patients.
There are two theories on how difficult these procedures are. Specialist say that physicians need to be highly trained, while the physicians say that the specialist are trying to protect their practices.