Impact of different selection policies on subcutaneous ICD implants and therapies

Harding I, Kaura A, Yue A, Roberts P, Murgatroyd F, Scott PA.Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2020 May 8. doi: 10.1111/pace.13936. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32385939



Background: Patients with existing or anticipated indications for cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), bradycardia, or anti-tachycardia pacing should not be offered subcutaneous defibrillators (SQIDs) but it remains unclear how clinicians should predict future need for these therapies.

Methods: We applied three SQID selection policies to data collected retrospectively from transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (TV-ICD) implants: (a) approach A, SQID used in inherited channelopathies and idiopathic ventricular fibrillation only; (b) approach B, as above, plus all hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and grown-up congenital heart disease patients; (c) approach C, as above, plus primary and secondary prevention (for ventricular fibrillation only) of SCD in patients with QRS <150 ms. Approach C reflects current ESC and AHA/ACC/HRS guidelines.

Results: 338 of 951 patients with TV-ICD were considered for SQID after excluding 613 patients with contraindications. Approaches A, B, and C yielded 45 (4.7%), 89 (9.4%), and 338 (35.5%) patients suitable for SQID, respectively. Use of SQID resulted in more frequent ICD shocks compared to TV-ICD with approach C only (0.43 vs 0.23 per 1000 patient-days; P = .03). Rates of CRT upgrade were comparable across selection criteria (0, 0.03, and 0.07 per 1000 patient-days for approaches A, B, and C, respectively; P = NS). Risk of early mortality was higher when more liberal inclusion criteria were used (P = .003).

Conclusions: One in three patients receiving ICDs may be suitable for SQID under current ESC and AHA/ACC/HRS guidelines. This proportion is influenced significantly by the selection criteria used, and the criteria used by a physician should be informed by the estimated survival of the patient, risk of shocks for MVT, future pacing, and CRT requirements.