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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2004 Aug;15(8):862-6.

Biventricular implantable cardioverter defibrillators improve survival compared with biventricular pacing alone in patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction.

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1
Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Biventricular cardiac pacemakers provide important hemodynamic benefit in selected patients with heart failure and severe left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Nevertheless, these patients remain at high mortality risk. To address this issue, we examined mortality outcome in patients with heart failure treated with biventricular pacemakers alone and those treated with biventricular implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

METHODS AND RESULTS:

The study population consisted of 126 consecutive patients with LV dysfunction and heart failure who received either a biventricular ICD (n = 62) or a biventricular pacemaker (n = 64) between January 1998 and December 2002. A minimum 12 months of follow-up was obtained in all survivors. ICD indications were conventional in all patients. Kaplan-Meier actuarial method and log rank statistics were used to calculate and compare survival rates in both groups. Comparison of mortality rates utilized Chi-square test. The two groups had similar clinical and demographic features, LV ejection fraction, and medication use. Average follow-up times were 13 +/- 11.8 months (range 4-60) and 18 +/- 13.2 months (range 0.5-53) for biventricular ICD and pacemaker groups, respectively. Overall mortality rate was significantly lower in the biventricular ICD group (13%, 8 deaths) compared to the pacemaker group (41%, 26 deaths) (P = 0.01). Further, the predominant survival benefit for ICD-treated patients becomes evident after the first 12 months of follow-up.

CONCLUSION:

The findings in this study, although necessarily limited in their interpretation by the absence of treatment randomization, suggest that biventricular ICDs offer a survival benefit compared to biventricular pacing alone. Furthermore, this benefit may be most apparent if other clinical factors do not preclude patient survival >1 year postimplant.

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