A Population-Based Study of Adherence to Guideline Recommendations and Appropriate-Use Criteria for Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

Can J Cardiol. 2018 Dec;34(12):1677-1681. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2018.08.030. Epub 2018 Aug 24.


Studies evaluating physician adherence to guideline recommendations for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) therapy are sparse, and none exist for the application of appropriate-use criteria (AUC) in clinical practice. As part of a quality improvement initiative, a review of all ICD procedures was performed from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016 in Alberta, Canada, to evaluate the proportion of patients receiving appropriate ICD therapy and to identify reasons for nonadherence. Our device-implant process involves an electrophysiologist or implanting cardiologist evaluation, reminders of ICD eligibility criteria on the device requisition, and peer-review consensus. Implants were classified according to the 2008 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association/Heart Rhythm Society (ACC/AHA/HRS) ICD guidelines, 2013 Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) guidelines, and 2013 AUC. There were 1,300 ICD procedures performed, and the mean age was 63.8 ± 12.9 years; 79% were male; the mean ejection fraction was 0.32 ± 0.13, and 69% were for primary prevention. Among all implants, < 1% were discordant with American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association/Heart Rhythm Society (ACC/AHA/HRS) recommendations. Among CRT implants, 10% were inconsistent with Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) recommendations. According to AUC, 92% of implants were appropriate. Reasons for nonadherence to ACC/AHA/HRS recommendations included QRS width < 120 msec (n = 3), LVEF > 0.35 (n = 2) and recent myocardial infarction (MI) (n = 1). The most common reason for nonadherence to AUC was the absence of criteria for classification (n = 57, 4%). In this population-based study, we found that a process of specialist evaluation, eligibility reminders on device forms, and peer-review consensus may improve adherence to guideline recommendations and AUC for ICD therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Improvement