Aims: The choice of resynchronization therapy between with (CRT-D) and without (CRT-P) a defibrillator remains a contentious issue. Cause-of-death analysis among CRT-P, compared with CRT-D, patients could help evaluate the extent to which CRT-P patients would have additionally benefited from a defibrillator in a daily clinical practice.
Methods and results: A total of 1705 consecutive patients implanted with a CRT (CRT-P: 535 and CRT-D: 1170) between 2008 and 2010 were enrolled in CeRtiTuDe, a multicentric prospective follow-up cohort study, with specific adjudication for causes of death at 2 years. Patients with CRT-P compared with CRT-D were older (P < 0.0001), less often male (P < 0.0001), more symptomatic (P = 0.0005), with less coronary artery disease (P = 0.003), wider QRS (P = 0.002), more atrial fibrillation (P < 0.0001), and more co-morbidities (P = 0.04). At 2-year follow-up, the annual overall mortality rate was 83.80 [95% confidence interval (CI) 73.41-94.19] per 1000 person-years. The crude mortality rate among CRT-P patients was double compared with CRT-D (relative risk 2.01, 95% CI 1.56-2.58). In a Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, CRT-P remained associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio 1.54, 95% CI 1.07-2.21, P = 0.0209), although other potential confounders may persist. By cause-of-death analysis, 95% of the excess mortality among CRT-P subjects was related to an increase in non-sudden death.
Conclusion: When compared with CRT-D patients, excess mortality in CRT-P recipients was mainly due to non-sudden death. Our findings suggest that CRT-P patients, as currently selected in routine clinical practice, would not potentially benefit with the addition of a defibrillator.
Keywords: Cardiac resynchronization; Cardioverter defibrillator; Competing risk; Heart failure; Sudden death.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.