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Application of a mortality risk score in a general population of patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  1. Beat A Schaer,
  2. Michael S Kühne,
  3. David Blatter,
  4. Stefan Osswald,
  5. Christian Sticherling
  1. Department of Cardiology, University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Beat Schaer, Department of Cardiology, University Hospital, Petersgraben 4, Basel 4031, Switzerland; bschaer{at}


Objective The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is very effective in the prevention of sudden cardiac death, but its benefit is impaired by competing risks. A simple risk model to predict mortality was designed for patients with primary prevention and ischaemic cardiomyopathy. We aimed to apply this score to a general ICD population.

Methods This retrospective registry study included all patients in whom an ICD was implanted at a tertiary referral hospital. Risk factors were age >70 years, QRS width >120 ms, atrial fibrillation, New York Heart Association Functional Classification class >2 and glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. Kaplan–Meier curves were constructed according to the presence of 0, 1, 2 and >2 risk factors.

Results The cohort consists of 1032 patients, 881 (86%) were men, mean age was 61±14 years and mean follow-up 66±46 months. 256 patients (25%) died 58±41 months after implant. The setting was secondary prevention in 498 patients (48%). No risk factors was present in 32% of patients, 1 in 27%, 2 in 20% and >2 in 21%, respectively. There was a significant and comprehensible relation between risk score and mortality. Cumulative survival was 82% in patients with 0 risk factors, 63% in those with 1, 41% in those with 2 and 23% in those with >2 risk factors (p < 0.0001). ICD therapies were documented in 421 patients (41%) without correlation to risk factors.

Conclusions In a mixed population of primary and secondary preventive ICD carriers, application of a simple risk score predicts long-term mortality but not appropriate use of the ICD.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • ventricular fibrillation
  • ventricular tachycardia
  • sudden cardiac death

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Cardiovascular Society