Outcomes Among Older Patients Receiving Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators for Secondary Prevention: From the NCDR ICD Registry

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Jan 24;69(3):265-274. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.10.062.


Background: Clinical trials of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death were conducted nearly 2 decades ago and enrolled few older patients.

Objectives: This study assessed morbidity and mortality of older patients receiving ICDs for secondary prevention in contemporary clinical practice.

Methods: We identified 12,420 Medicare beneficiaries from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD Registry undergoing first-time secondary prevention ICD implantation between 2006 and 2009 in 956 U.S. hospitals. Risks of death, hospitalization, and admission to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) were assessed over 2 years in age strata (65 to 69, 70 to 74, 75 to 79, and ≥80 years of age) using Medicare claims. The adjusted association between age and outcomes was evaluated using multivariable models.

Results: The mean age was 75 years at the time of implantation; 25.3% were <70 years of age and 25.7% were ≥80 years of age. Overall, the risk of death at 2 years was 21.8%, ranging from 14.7% among those <70 years of age to 28.9% among those ≥80 years of age (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 2.01; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.85 to 2.33; p for trend <0.001). The cumulative incidence of hospitalizations was 65.4%, ranging from 60.5% in those <70 years of age to 71.5% in those ≥80 years of age (aRR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.36; p for trend <0.001). The cumulative incidence of admission to a SNF ranged from 13.1% among those <70 years of age to 31.9% among those ≥80 years of age (aRR: 2.67; 95% CI: 2.37 to 3.01; p for trend <0.001); SNF admission risk was highest in the first 30 days.

Conclusions: Almost 4 in 5 older patients receiving a secondary prevention ICD survives at least 2 years. High hospitalization and SNF admission rates, particularly among the oldest patients, identify substantial care needs after device implantation.

Keywords: arrhythmia; elderly; electrophysiology.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome