Study looks at how long internal defibrillators last

4th August 2016

Researchers in Italy have been investigating how long internal defibrillators (ICDs) last and the reasons why they have to be replaced.

ICDs, officially called implantable cardioverter defibrillators, are given to patients who have experienced a dangerous heart rhythm or are thought to be at risk of having one.

The study showed the median lifespan of devices was about six years for single or dual chamber ICDs, and five years for those with a biventricular pacemaker, also called cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT).  Devices implanted today are expected to last longer.

The most frequent reason for replacement was a depleted battery, and the amount of pacing the device had to do.  But there were differences in how long the devices lasted among different manufacturers.

The researchers said that the longevity of ICDs was extremely important from both a clinical and economic perspective. So they studied the reasons for device replacement, the longevity of removed ICDs, and the existence of possible factors associated with shorter service life.

They looked at consecutive patients given ICD replacement from March 2013 to May 2015 in 36 Italian hospitals. A total of 953 patients were included. In 813 (85%) patients the reason for replacement was battery depletion, while 88 (9%) devices were removed for clinical reasons and the remaining 52 because of system failure (such as device lead or ICD generator failure or a device safety warning).

“As our analysis was performed at the time of device removal, the most recent ICDs currently implanted in clinical practice were not considered, “ the researchers said.  “As modern devices are expected to last longer, our results may not apply to newer devices."

Ref: Device Longevity in a Contemporary Cohort of ICD/CRT-D Patients Undergoing Device Replacement

Francesco Zanon, M.D., F.E.S.C., F.H.R.S.; Cristian Martignani, M.D.; Ernesto Ammendola, M.D.; Endrj Menardi, M.D.; Maria Lucia Narducci, M.D., Ph.D.; Paolo De Filippo, M.D.; Matteo Santamaria, M.D.; Andrea Campana, M.D.; Giuseppe Stabile, M.D.; Domenico Rosario Potenza, M.D.; Gianni Pastore, M.D.; Matteo Iori, M.D.; Concetto La Rosa, M.D.; Mauro Biffi, M.D.

For the full article, see here