Regional variations in physicians' attitudes and recommendations surrounding implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

J Card Fail. 2011 Apr;17(4):318-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2010.11.009. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Introduction: This study was designed to determine if physicians' attitudes and recommendations surrounding implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are regionally associated with ICD use.

Methods and results: A national sample of 9969 members of the American College of Cardiology was surveyed electronically. Responses were merged with rates of ICD implantation from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry. Multivariable regression was used to assess trends between regional use and responses. We received 1210 responses (12%) and used 1124 after exclusions. Across regions, physicians were equally likely to recommend ICDs to males or females with ischemic (∼99% for both; P = NS) or nonischemic cardiomyopathy (85 vs. 88% P = 0.85). Significant increasing trends in the probability recommending ICD therapy were found when the patient was "frail" (21% to 32%; P = .03) or had a life expectancy <1 year (5% to 10%; P = .05). These differences were not associated with attitudes toward ICDs.

Conclusions: Independent of variations in physicians' attitudes towards ICDs, physicians in regions of low ICD use are not less likely to recommend ICDs in situations clearly supported by guidelines while those in regions of high ICD use are more likely to recommend ICDs to patients who might have limited benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cardiology
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends