Study Questions Role Of Dual-Chamber ICDs For Primary Prevention

Dual-chamber ICDs are implanted in a majority of primary prevention patients without a pacing indication who receive an ICD. Although there are a number of theoretical advantages with dual-chamber devices, these devices are more likely to cause complications. Although CMS requires providers to justify the medical necessity of dual-chamber devices, current guidelines from the AHA/ACC and HRS do not specify a single-chamber device.

In a new study published in JAMA, Pamela Peterson and colleagues analyzed data from 32,000 primary prevention patients without a pacing indication who were enrolled in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR). 38% received a single-chamber device and 62% received a dual-chamber device. At 1 year there wereno significant differences in mortality, all-cause hospitalization, or heart failure hospitalization between the two groups. However, patients in the dual-chamber group had a higher risk of complications, including a highly significant increase in the 90 day risk of mechanical complications requiring reoperation (1.43% in the single-chamber group versus 2.02% in the dual-chamber group, p < 0.001). A very similar pattern emerged when the investigators performed an analysis that matched patients in the two groups with a propensity model. The analysis suggested “that the choice of a dual-chamber device is relatively random with respect to patient characteristics.

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