Background - In the Comparison of Medical Therapy, Pacing and Defibrillation in Heart Failure (COMPANION) trial, 1520 patients with advanced heart failure were assigned in a 1:2:2 ratio to optimal pharmacological therapy or optimal pharmacological therapy plus cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT-P) or CRT with defibrillator (CRT-D). Use of CRT-P and CRT-D was associated with a significant reduction in combined risk of death or all-cause hospitalizations. Because mortality also was significantly reduced (optimal pharmacological therapy versus CRT-D only), an assessment of the true reduction in hospitalization rates must consider the competing risk of death and varying follow-up times. Methods and Results - To overcome the challenges of comparing treatment groups, we used a nonparametric test of right-censored recurrent events that accounts for multiple hospital admissions, differential follow-up time between treatment groups, and death as a competing risk. An end-point committee adjudicated and classified all hospitalizations. Compared with optimal pharmacological therapy, CRT-P and CRT-D were associated with a 21% and 25% reduction in all-cause, 34% and 37% reduction in cardiac, and 44% and 41% reduction in heart failure hospital admissions per patient-year of follow-up, respectively. Similar reductions were seen in hospitalization days per patient-year. The reduction in hospitalization rate for heart failure in the CRT groups appeared within days of randomization and remained sustained. Noncardiac hospitalization rates were not different between groups. Conclusion - Use of CRT with or without a defibrillator in advanced heart failure patients was associated with marked reductions in all-cause, cardiac, and heart failure hospitalization rates in an analysis that accounted for the competing risk of mortality and unequal follow-up time.
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy
- Heart failure