Electrocardiographically documented unnecessary, spontaneous shocks in 241 patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1992 Nov;15(11 Pt 1):1667-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1992.tb02953.x.


The incidence and cause of electrocardiographically documented spontaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) discharges for a rhythm other than ventricular tachycardia (VT) or fibrillation (VF) (unnecessary shocks) were determined in 241 patients who underwent ICD implantation between March 1983 and November 1991. During follow-up of 24 +/- 20 months, 54 of 241 patients (22%) received a total of 132 unnecessary ICD shocks confirmed by Holter or telemetry monitoring or stored electrograms (Egs) from the ICD. The rhythm preceding these unnecessary ICD shocks was atrial fibrillation in 30 patients, sinus or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in 11 patients, antitachycardia pacing triggered by atrial fibrillation or SVT resulting in VT in 5 patients, nonsustained VT in 3 patients, and normal sinus or pacemaker rhythm in 10 patients. Unnecessary ICD discharges occurred most frequently during the first week after implantation or generator replacement (18 of 54 patients [33%]). Unnecessary ICD discharges could be documented more often by stored Egs in patients with devices with Eg storage capability (Ventritex Cadence, 19 of 54 patients [35%]) than by Holter or telemetry monitoring in patients with devices without Egs storage capabilities (34 of 193 patients [18%], P < 0.01), despite a shorter mean follow-up duration of 14 +/- 9 months versus 26 +/- 21 months, respectively. Only six of 54 patients (11%) in whom unnecessary ICD discharges occurred had recurrent unnecessary shocks during 22 +/- 20 months of follow-up after treatment directed at the cause of the first episode or device reprogramming to preclude non-VT rhythm detection.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / adverse effects*
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tachycardia, Sinus / epidemiology
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / epidemiology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / therapy
  • Telemetry
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy