Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2006 Nov-Dec;15(6):361-4; quiz 365-6.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators should be used routinely in the elderly.

Author information

  • 1Brown Medical School, and Cardiology Division, Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals, Providence, RI 02905, USA.


Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) reduce mortality in selected high-risk populations by reducing the risk of sudden death. No clinical trial examining ICD efficacy has focused specifically on benefits and risks in the elderly, but all trials have included substantial numbers of older patients. The author addresses several issues: Is the risk of sudden death different for the elderly than in younger patients? Is ICD implantation feasible in the elderly? Is there evidence that ICD use in the elderly improves survival? The author's research indicates that while total mortality is higher for the elderly, there does not appear to be a specific predilection for arrhythmic death. Recent reports indicate that while ICDs can be implanted in a Medicare population, ICD implantation is associated with significant mortality (0.9%), as well as periprocedural complications (10.8%). In spite of the risks, both secondary and primary prevention trials demonstrate that the survival benefit associated with ICD use in the study populations was at least as great for elderly patients as for younger persons. Thus, published data support judicious ICD use in elderly patients at high risk for sudden death.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk