Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices Have Higher Rate of Complications

HealthDay News – Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are associated with a high risk of long-term complications, according to research published online May 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Isuru Ranasinghe, MBChB, PhD, a senior cardiologist at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, and colleagues collected data on 114 484 men and women aged 65 years and older who received an ICD between 2006 and 2010. Patients were followed for 3 years. The team analyzed the performance of 3 types of ICDs—single-chamber, dual-chamber, and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices (CRT-D).

Researchers found that compared with simpler devices, CRT-D devices have a 38% higher rate of complications, and quadruple the risk for procedures such as battery replacement and upgrades. They also found that women and black patients had a somewhat higher risk of complications compared to men and white patients. In addition, younger seniors—those aged 65 to 69 years at implantation—had more complications than individuals aged 85 years and older.

Why women and blacks are more susceptible to complications isn’t clear and requires further investigation, Dr Ranasinghe told HealthDay. Still, “our findings can be used by physicians and patients to make an informed choice when weighing up the risks and benefits of an ICD,” he said.


Ranasinghe I, Parzynski CS, Freeman JV, et al. Long-term risk for device-related complications and reoperations after implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation: an observational cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2016. doi: 10.7326/M15-2732.