Shocks burden and increased mortality in implantable cardioverter- defibrillator patients

Gail K. Larsen, John Evans, William E. Lambert, Yiyi Chen, Merritt H. Raitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) shocks are associated with an increased risk of death. It is unclear whether ICD shocks are detrimental per se or a marker of higher risk patients. Objective: We aimed to assess the association between ICD shocks and time to death after correction for baseline mortality based on the Seattle Heart Failure Model (SHFM). Methods: The primary analysis compared time-to-death between patients receiving no shocks and patients receiving shocks of any type adjusted for SHFM score at time of implantation and other comorbidities. Subgroup analyses were performed to further describe the relationship between shocks and mortality risk. Results: Over a median follow-up of 41 months (interquartile range 2364), one or more shock episodes occurred in 59% of 425 patients and 40% of the patients died. Patients receiving shocks of any type had increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.55; 95% confidence interval 1.072.23; P =.02) versus patients receiving no shocks. While patients with 15 days with shock (shock days) did not show evidence of increased risk of death (1.30 [0.881.94]; P = 0.19), those with 610 shock days (2.22 [1.214.08]; P <.01) and >10 shock days (3.66 [1.867.19]; P <.01) had increasingly higher risk. There was no increased hazard for death (0.73 [0.341.57]; P =.41) in patients treated only with antitachycardia pacing (ATP). Conclusion: ICD shocks were associated with increased mortality risk after adjustment for SHFM-predicted mortality, and the burden of shocks played a role in this association. ATP did not increase mortality risk, suggesting that shocks may themselves be detrimental.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1886
Number of pages6
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Antitachycardia pacing
  • Death
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Shocks
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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