Cardiac device complications in the cognitively impaired

Abdi Jama, Alejandro Rabinstein, David Hodge, Regina Herges, Samuel Asirvatham, Yong Mei Cha, Brian Powell, Robert F. Rea, Paul Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Patients with preexisting mild cognitive impairment or dementia may be at increased risk for developing cardiac device complications due to an impaired ability to follow postimplant care instructions. We sought to determine whether rates of infection, lead dislodgement, or appropriate or inappropriate implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) shocks are increased in this population. Methods Medical charts of 561 patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia who underwent pacemaker (PM) or ICD implantation between January 2002 and October 2009 at Mayo Clinic were identified. A total of 134 patients who were diagnosed with cognitive impairment or dementia before device implantation or within 1 year of implantation were compared with 134 matched controls. Information was collected on patient characteristics, comorbid medical conditions, ejection fraction, complications, device type, device therapy, and mortality. Device information was prospectively entered into a database and retrospectively reviewed. Results Of the 134 patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, 99 underwent PM implantation and 35 underwent ICD implantation. Compared to controls, there was no difference in patient characteristics, ejection fraction, or comorbidities except for diabetes, which was more prevalent in the cognitively impaired and demented group (18.7% vs 30.6%, P = 0.02). There was no difference in device therapy and complications (14.4% vs 5.8%, P = 0.268). However, there was a decreased survival in patients with cognitive impairment and dementia when compared to the control group (42% vs 67% at 5 years, P = 0.007). Conclusion Patients with cognitive impairment and standard device indications are not at increased risk for device complications and therapy but their survival is much lower than in matched controls. The cause of this lower survival is unknown but may be related to the underlying neurological disease. Presence of cognitive impairment should therefore be considered when contemplating implantation of a cardiac device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1067
Number of pages7
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • ICD
  • cognitive impairment
  • complications
  • dementia
  • pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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