Does ICD indication affect quality of life and levels of distress?

Susanne S. Pedersen, Samuel F Sears, Matthew M Burg, Krista C Van Den Broek

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is the treatment of choice for life-threatening arrhythmias, with ICD indications having recently been extended to include primary prophylaxis. Despite the medical benefits of the ICD, there is an ongoing debate as to the impact of the ICD on patients' lives, particularly whether primary prophylaxis implantation may impact adversely on patient-centered outcomes such as quality of life (QoL) and distress. We examined the evidence for a role of ICD indication on these patient-centered outcomes. A literature search was conducted on PubMed and Web of Science from 2002 to present, focusing on indication for ICD therapy and patient-centered outcomes (i.e., anxiety, depression, disease-specific, or general QoL). We identified five studies (seven articles) concerning the impact of indication on patient-centered outcomes. Sample sizes varied from 91-426 patients across studies, five of seven articles used a prospective design, and follow-up ranged from 2-12 months. No study reported an effect for indication on patient-centered outcomes. There is no evidence to suggest that patients receiving an ICD for primary prophylaxis have subsequent poorer QoL and greater distress than patients receiving an ICD for secondary prophylaxis. This knowledge may help cardiologists in the clinical management of patients, in particular when discussing ICD implantation with patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)153-156
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Comorbidity
  • Defibrillators, Implantable
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological

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