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Year: 2009  |  Volume: 120  |  Issue: 10  |  Page No.: 835 - 842

Maximizing Survival Benefit With Primary Prevention Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Therapy in a Heart Failure Population

W. C Levy, K. L Lee, A. S Hellkamp, J. E Poole, D Mozaffarian, D. T Linker, A. P Maggioni, I Anand, P. A Poole Wilson, D. P Fishbein, G Johnson, J Anderson, D. B Mark and G. H. Bardy


Background— Although implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy reduces mortality in moderately symptomatic heart failure patients with an ejection fraction ≤35%, many such patients do not require ICD shocks over long-term follow-up.

Methods and Results— Using a modification of a previously validated risk prediction model based on routine clinical variables, we examined the relationship between baseline predicted mortality risk and the relative and absolute survival benefits of ICD treatment in the primary prevention Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial (SCD-HeFT). In the placebo arm, predicted 4-year mortality grouped into 5 equal-sized risk groups varied from 12% to 50% (c statistic=0.71), whereas the proportion of SCD in those same risk groups decreased from 52% to 24% of all deaths. ICD treatment decreased relative risk of SCD by 88% in the lowest-risk group versus 24% in the highest-risk group (P=0.009 for interaction) and decreased relative risk of total mortality by 54% in the lowest-risk group versus no benefit (2%) in the highest-risk group (P=0.014 for interaction). Absolute 4-year mortality reductions were 6.6%, 8.8%, 10.6%, 14.0%, and –4.9% across risk quintiles. In highest-risk patients (predicted annual mortality >20%), no benefit of ICD treatment was seen. Projected over each patient’s predicted lifespan, ICD treatment added 6.3, 4.1, 3.0, 1.9, and 0.2 additional years of life in the lowest- to highest-risk groups, respectively.

Conclusions— A clinical risk prediction model identified subsets of moderately symptomatic heart failure patients in SCD-HeFT in whom single-lead ICD therapy was of no benefit and other subsets in which benefit was substantial.

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