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Tsai V, Goldstein MK, Hsia HH, Wang Y, Curtis J, Heidenreich PA, National Cardiovascular Data Registry. Age Differences in Primary Prevention Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Use in U.S. Individuals. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2011 Sep 1; 59(9):1589-1595.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the potentially inappropriate use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator ICDs in older U.S. adults. DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING: The National Cardiovascular Data ICD Registry. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-four thousand eight hundred five individuals in the National Cardiovascular Data''s ICD Registry( ) who had received ICDs for primary prevention from January 2006 to December 2008. Individuals with a prior myocardial infarction and ejection fraction less than 30% were included. MEASUREMENTS: Mortality risk was categorized using the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation (MADIT) II risk-stratification system. Low-risk and very-high-risk individuals were considered potentially inappropriate recipients. RESULTS: Of 44,805 individuals, 67% (n = 29,893) were aged 65 and older, of whom 51% were aged 75 and older. A significant proportion of ICD recipients had a low risk of death (16%, n = 6,969) or very high risk of nonarrhythmic death (8%, n = 3,693). Potentially inappropriate ICD use was 10% in those aged 75 and older, much less than in younger groups (40%, < 65; 21%, 65-74, P < .001). Although age was associated with a high risk of nonarrhythmic death, its influence was markedly attenuated after adjusting for comorbidities and timing of ICD implantation (odds ratio = 1.02, 95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.03, P < .001). CONCLUSION: Potentially inappropriate ICD use appears significantly less-and at modest rates-in older Americans than in younger age groups. Overall, almost one-quarter of individuals may have received ICDs inappropriately based on their risk of death. Physicians appear to be conservatively referring older adults and wisely deferring those with high comorbid burden.