Quality-of-life in patients receiving implantable cardioverter defibrillators at or before age 40

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1996 Nov;19(11 Pt 1):1555-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1996.tb03180.x.


As the use of ICDs increases, more young patients will be eligible to receive these devices. Such patients may have different concerns than older patients who more commonly receive ICDs. We investigated quality-of-life issues in patients followed by the Yale electrophysiology service who were < or = 40 years old (mean = 28) at the time of ICD implant. Mean time since ICD placement was 3.3 years. Each patient received a modified SF-36 health questionnaire; 16 (88%) of 18 responded. Nine were women; ten were married. The highest education level attained was high school for 6 (37%), and college or beyond for 10 (63%). Ten patients were employed; eight held the same job before and after ICD placement. Four women conceived after ICD implantation; one experienced ICD discharge during pregnancy. All delivered healthy infants. All patients felt their health was good to excellent, with 6 (38%) reporting an improvement in health since ICD placement. All felt capable of performing the activities of daily living, while 68% engaged freely in moderate physical activities. All patients felt they were average to very attractive. However, 63% worried about how their clothes fit with the ICD. Three quarters of the patients felt the ICD interfered with social interactions, while 50% were concerned about sexual encounters. Thus, even though these young patients have body image concerns and may limit their activities to some degree, they are productive, active members of society who have benefitted from ICD placement.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires