Real world effectiveness of primary implantable cardioverter defibrillators implanted during hospital admissions for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities: Cohort study of older patients with heart failure

Chih Ying Chen, Lynne Warner Stevenson, Garrick C. Stewart, Deepak L. Bhatt, Manisha Desai, John D. Seeger, Lauren Williams, Jessica J. Jalbert, Soko Setoguchi Iwata

Publication Date: 07/14/2015

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of primary implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in elderly patients receiving the device during a hospital admission for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities, with an emphasis on adjustment for early mortality and other factors reflecting healthy candidate bias rather than the effect of the ICD. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Linked data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and American College of Cardiology-National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD registry, nationwide heart failure registry, and Medicare claims data 2004-09. POPULATION: 23 111 patients aged ≥66 who were admitted to hospital for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities and eligible for primary ICDs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: All cause mortality and sudden cardiac death. Latency analyses with Cox regression were used to derive crude hazard ratios and hazard ratios adjusted for high dimension propensity score for outcomes after 180 days from index implantation or discharge. RESULTS: Patients who received an ICD during a hospital admission had lower crude mortality risk than patients who did not receive an ICD (40% v 60% at three years); however, with conditioning on 180 day survival and with adjustment for high dimension propensity score, the apparent benefit with ICD was no longer evident for sudden cardiac death (adjusted hazard ratio 0.95, 95% confidence interval 0.78 to 1.17) and had a diminished impact on total mortality (0.91, 0.82 to 1.00). There were trends towards a benefit with ICD in reducing mortality or sudden cardiac death in patients who had had a myocardial infarction more than 40 days previously, left bundle branch block, or low serum B type natriuretic peptide; however, these trends did not reach significance. CONCLUSIONS: After adjustment for healthy candidate bias and confounding, the benefits of primary ICD therapy seen in pivotal trials were not apparent in patients aged 66 or over who received ICDs during a hospital admission for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities. Future research is warranted to further identify subgroups of elderly patients who are more likely to benefit from ICDs. Recognition of those patients whose dominant risk factors are from decompensated heart failure and non-cardiac co-morbidities will allow better focus on ICDs in those patients for whom the device offers the most benefit and provides meaningful prolonging of life.