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Defibrillation testing at the time of ICD insertion: an analysis from the Ontario ICD Registry


Background — Increasingly, ICD implantation is performed without defibrillation testing (DT).

Objectives — To determine the current frequency of DT, the risks associated with DT, and to understand how physicians select patients to have DT.

Methods — Between January 2007 and July 2008, all patients in Ontario, Canada who received an ICD were enrolled in this prospective registry.

Results — A total of 2,173 patients were included; 58% had new ICD implants for primary prevention, 25% for secondary prevention, and 17% had pulse generator replacement. DT was carried out at the time of ICD implantation or predischarge in 65%, 67%, and 24% of primary, secondary, and replacement cases respectively (P = <0.0001). The multivariate predictors of a decision to conduct DT included: new ICD implant (OR = 13.9, P < 0.0001), dilated cardiomyopathy (OR = 1.8, P < 0.0001), amiodarone use (OR = 1.5, P = 0.004), and LVEF > 20% (OR = 1.3, P = 0.05). A history of atrial fibrillation (OR = 0.58, P = 0.0001) or oral anticoagulant use (OR = 0.75, P = 0.03) was associated with a lower likelihood of having DT. Age, gender, NYHA class, and history of stroke or TIA did not predict DT. Perioperative complications, including death, myocardial infarction, stroke, tamponade, pneumothorax, heart failure, infection, wound hematoma, and lead dislodgement, were similar among patients with (8.7%) and without (8.3%) DT (P = 0.7)

Conclusions — DT is performed in two-thirds of new ICD implants but only one-quarter of ICD replacements. Physicians favored performance of DT in patients who are at lower risk of DT-related complications and in those receiving amiodarone. DT was not associated with an increased risk of perioperative complications.



Healey JS, Birnie DH, Lee DS, Krahn AD, Crystal E, Simpson CS, Dorian P, Chen Z, Cameron D, Verma A, Connolly SJ, Gula LJ, Lockwood E, Nair G, Tu JV; Ontario ICD Database Investigators. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2010; 21(12):1344-8.

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