Trends in the use and outcomes of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in patients undergoing dialysis in the united states

David M. Charytan, Amanda R. Patrick, Jun Liu, Soko Setoguchi, Charles A. Herzog, M. Alan Brookhart, Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background: Sudden cardiac death constitutes the leading cause of death in patients receiving dialysis. Little is known about the trends in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) use and the outcomes of such device placement. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting & Participants: US long-term dialysis patients who received an ICD in 1994-2006. Predictors, Outcomes, & Measurements: ICD utilization rates and incident rates of all-cause mortality, device infections, and other device-related procedures were measured. We compared mortality between recipients and otherwise similar patients who did not receive such a device using high-dimensional propensity score matching. We also examined the associations of demographics, dialysis type, baseline comorbid conditions, cardiovascular events at the time of admission, and recent infection with the study outcomes. Results: 9,528 patients received an ICD in 1994-2006, with >88% placed after 2000. Almost all ICD use in the 1990s was for secondary prevention, however, half the patients received ICDs for apparent primary prevention in 2006. Mortality rates after implantation were high (448 deaths/1,000 patient-years) and most deaths were cardiovascular. Postimplantation infection rates were high, especially in the first year after implantation (988 events/1,000 patient-years) and were predicted by diabetes and recent infection. Patients receiving ICDs for secondary prevention had an overall 14% (95% CI, 9%-19%) lower mortality risk compared with propensity-matched controls, but these benefits seemed to be restricted to the early postimplantation time. Limitations: Lack of clinical data, especially for laboratory and heart function studies. Residual confounding by indication. Conclusions: ICD use in dialysis patients is increasing, but rates of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality remain high in dialysis patients receiving these devices. Device infections are common, particularly in patients with recent infections. Randomized trials of ICDs are needed to determine the efficacy, safety, and risk-benefit ratio of these devices in dialysis patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-417
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • arrhythmia
  • automated implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD)
  • cardiovascular disease
  • defibrillator
  • dialysis
  • sudden death


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