The Significance of Shocks in Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Recipients

Anthony Li, Amit Kaura, Nicholas Sunderland, Paramdeep S Dhillon, Paul A Scott
Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review 2016, 5 (2): 110-6
Large-scale implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) trials have unequivocally shown a reduction in mortality in appropriately selected patients with heart failure and depressed left ventricular function. However, there is a strong association between shocks and increased mortality in ICD recipients. It is unclear if shocks are merely a marker of a more severe cardiovascular disease or directly contribute to the increase in mortality. The aim of this review is to examine the relationship between ICD shocks and mortality, and explore possible mechanisms. Data examining the effect of shocks in the absence of spontaneous arrhythmias as well as studies of non-shock therapy and strategies to reduce shocks are analysed to try and disentangle the shocks versus substrate debate.

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