Introduction: The need to perform defibrillation testing (DT) at the time of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion is controversial. In the absence of randomized trials, some regions now perform more than half of ICD implants without DT.
Methods: During the last year of enrolment in the Resynchronization for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial, a substudy randomized patients to ICD implantation with versus without DT.
Results: Among 252 patients screened, 145 were enrolled; 75 randomized to DT and 70 to no DT. Patients were similar in terms of age (65.9 ± 9.3 years vs 67.9 ± 8.9 years); LVEF (24.7 ± 4.6% vs 23.6 ± 4.6%), QRS width (154.8 ± 23.5 vs 155.8 ± 23.6 ms), and history of atrial fibrillation (5% vs 6%). All 68 patients in the DT arm tested according to the protocol achieved a successful DT (≤25 J); 96% without requiring any system modification. No patient experienced perioperative stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure (HF), intubation or unplanned ICU stay. The length of hospital stay was not prolonged in the DT group: 20.2 ± 26.3 hours versus 21.3 ± 23.0 hours, P = 0.79. One patient in the DT arm had a failed appropriate shock and no patient suffered an arrhythmic death. The composite of HF hospitalization or all-cause mortality occurred in 10% of patients in the no-DT arm and 19% of patients in the DT arm (HR = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.21-1.31, P = 0.14).
Conclusions: In this randomized trial, perioperative complications, failed appropriate shocks, and arrhythmic death were all uncommon regardless of DT. There was a nonsignificant increase in the risk of death or HF hospitalization with DT.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00251251.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.