Sudden cardiac death is a common cause of death in patients with congenital or acquired heart disease. An implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) can effectively put a stop to any underlying cardiac arrhythmia. In a long-term observational study involving 1,500 patients.

Researchers have shown that the progress selected for the implanted defibrillators (ICDs) plays a major role. It was found that the most "defensive" possible procedure is safe and, at the same time, significantly reduces inappropriate therapy.

The study was published in Circulation.

People with implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) are carrying a form of life insurance in their chests. This is only meant to be activated if their hearts have their rhythm to such a degree that their lives are in acute danger-this concerns the ventricular tachycardia or atrial fibrillation.

Cardiac Rhythm

Depending on the situation, the ICD emits to painless pulse or immediately gives to (painful) electric shock until normal cardiac rhythm has been restored.  Unfortunately, in some patients, this therapy overshoots the mark.

This results in premature or unnecessary shocks with the associated detriment to quality of life. In this study, we compared customized ICD programming, standard programming, and programming with extended detection times. 

Our department has used the extended detection time (the time before the ICD kicks in) since 2010 and this gives the heart a chance to regain its rhythm spontaneously.  Compared with standardized programming, programming with extended detection times could reduce the number of unnecessary ICD shocks by 29%.  

Furthermore, the recent study showed that this procedure is appropriate for all patients, irrespective of their gender, underlying disease or type of device. They can refer to excellent results accompanied by very high levels of patient safety. ICD shocks were between 5.1 and 7.9% We are now aiming for 3.7%, which will be a top international value.

The long-standing center of excellence for defibrillators

These results will also be important for other defibrillator centers since the date available in this field was very thin. These new findings should also encourage other centers to adopt a less aggressive programming strategy, with the aim of achieving excellent protection from sudden cardiac death while reducing the number of inappropriate shocks. important for other defibrillator centers since the date available in this field was very thin.

The recommendation made by the study authors to allow the ICD to "observe" for slightly longer (a matter of seconds) before reacting, could drive to paradigm shift in treatment .