Primary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillators in end-stage kidney disease patients on dialysis: a matched cohort study

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015 May;30(5):829-35. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfu274. Epub 2014 Nov 17.


Background: Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death among end-stage kidney disease patients (ESKD) on dialysis, but the benefit of primary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in this population is uncertain. We conducted this investigation to compare the mortality of dialysis patients receiving a primary prevention ICD with matched controls.

Methods: We used data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry's ICD Registry to select dialysis patients who received a primary prevention ICD, and the Get with the Guidelines-Heart Failure Registry to select a comparator cohort. We matched ICD recipients and no-ICD patients using propensity score techniques to reduce confounding, and overall survival was compared between groups.

Results: We identified 108 dialysis patients receiving primary prevention ICDs and 195 comparable dialysis patients without ICDs. One year (3-year) mortality was 42.2% (68.8%) in the ICD registry cohort compared with 38.1% (75.7%) in the control cohort. There was no significant survival advantage associated with ICD [hazard ratio (HR) 0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66-1.13, log-rank P = 0.29]. After propensity matching, our analysis included 86 ICD patients and 86 matched controls. Comparing the propensity-matched cohorts, 1 year (3 years) mortality was 43.4% (74.0%) in the ICD cohort and 39.7% (76.6%) in the control cohort; there was no significant difference in mortality outcome between groups (HR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.67-1.31, log-rank P = 0.71).

Conclusions: We did not observe a significant association between primary prevention ICDs and reduced mortality among ESKD patients receiving dialysis. Consideration of the potential risks and benefits of ICD implantation in these patients should be undertaken while awaiting the results of definitive clinical trials.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; defibrillator; dialysis; end-stage kidney disease; sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Prevention
  • Propensity Score
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies