Age Differences in Primary Prevention Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Use in U.S. Individuals

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To estimate the potentially inappropriate use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator ICDs in older U.S. adults.


Retrospective study.


The National Cardiovascular Data ICD Registry.


Forty-four thousand eight hundred five individuals in the National Cardiovascular Data's ICD Registry(™) who had received ICDs for primary prevention from January 2006 to December 2008. Individuals with a prior myocardial infarction and ejection fraction less than 30% were included.


Mortality risk was categorized using the Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation (MADIT) II risk-stratification system. Low-risk and very-high-risk individuals were considered potentially inappropriate recipients.


Of 44,805 individuals, 67% (n=29,893) were aged 65 and older, of whom 51% were aged 75 and older. A significant proportion of ICD recipients had a low risk of death (16%, n=6,969) or very high risk of nonarrhythmic death (8%, n=3,693). Potentially inappropriate ICD use was 10% in those aged 75 and older, much less than in younger groups (40%,


Potentially inappropriate ICD use appears significantly less-and at modest rates-in older Americans than in younger age groups. Overall, almost one-quarter of individuals may have received ICDs inappropriately based on their risk of death. Physicians appear to be conservatively referring older adults and wisely deferring those with high comorbid burden.

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