Impact of shock energy and ventricular rhythm on the success of first shock therapy: The ALTITUDE first shock study

Yong Mei Cha, David L. Hayes, Samuel J. Asirvatham, Brian D. Powell, David A. Cesario, Michael Cao, F. Roosevelt Gilliam, Paul W. Jones, Songtao Jiang, Leslie A. Saxon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The efficacy of shock in converting different ventricular tachyarrhythmias has not been well characterized in a large natural-practice setting. Objective: To determine shock success rate by energy and ventricular rhythm in a large cohort of patients with implantable cardioverter- defibrillators. Methods: Two thousand patients with 5279 shock episodes were randomly sampled for analysis from the LATITUDE remote monitoring system. Within an episode, the rhythm preceding therapy (shock or antitachycardia pacing [ATP]) was adjudicated. Patients who died after unsuccessful implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shocks did not transmit final remote monitoring data and were not included in the study. Results: Of 3677 shock episodes for ventricular tachyarrhythmia, 2679 were treated with shock initially and were classified as monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (n = 1544), polymorphic/monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (n = 371), or ventricular fibrillation (n = 764). The success rate after the first, second, and final shock averaged 90.3%, 96.4%, and 99.8%, respectively. After unsuccessful initial ATP (n = 998), the first, second, and final shock was successful in 84.8%, 92.9%, and 100% of the episodes. The success rate after the first or second shock was significantly lower after failed ATP compared to shock as first therapy (both P<.001). Among episodes treated initially with shock, the success rate for monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (89.2%) when treated with energy level≤20 J was significantly higher than that for ventricular fibrillation (80.8%) (P =.04). The level of shock energy was a significant predictor of the success of the first shock (odds ratio 1.16; 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.30; P =.013). Conclusions: The success rate of first shock as first therapy is approximately 90%, but was lower after failed ATP. Programming a higher level of energy after ATP is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-708
Number of pages7
JournalHeart rhythm
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • Antitachycardia pacing
  • ICD
  • Shock
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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