Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine if the benefit of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) is modulated by medical comorbidity.
Background: Primary prevention ICDs improve survival in patients at risk for sudden cardiac death. Their benefit in patients with significant comorbid illness has not been demonstrated.
Methods: Original, patient-level datasets from MADIT I (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial I), MADIT II, DEFINITE (Defibrillators in Non-Ischemic Cardiomyopathy Treatment Evaluation), and SCD-HeFT (Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial) were combined. Patients in the combined population (N = 3,348) were assessed with respect to the following comorbidities: smoking, pulmonary disease, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation, ischemic heart disease, and chronic kidney disease. The primary outcome was overall mortality, using the hazard ratio (HR) of time to death for patients receiving an ICD versus no ICD by extent of medical comorbidity, and adjusted for age, sex, race, left ventricular ejection fraction, use of antiarrhythmic drugs, beta-blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
Results: Overall, 25% of patients (n = 830) had <2 comorbid conditions versus 75% (n = 2,518) with significant comorbidity (≥2). The unadjusted hazard of death for patients with an ICD versus no ICD was significantly lower, but this effect was less for patients with ≥2 comorbidities (unadjusted HR: 0.71; 95% confidence interval: 0.61 to 0.84) compared with those with <2 comorbidities (unadjusted HR: 0.59; 95% confidence interval: 0.40 to 0.87). After adjustment, the benefit of an ICD decreased with increasing number of comorbidities (p = 0.004).
Conclusions: Patients with extensive comorbid medical illnesses may experience less benefit from primary prevention ICDs than those with less comorbidity; implantation should be carefully considered in sick patients. Further study of ICDs in medically complex patients is warranted.
Keywords: comorbid illness; implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; outcomes; randomized trials.
Copyright © 2014 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.