Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Implantation, Continuation, and Deactivation in Elderly Patients

J. William Schleifer, Win Kuang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: We review the major randomized trials and recent literature which address the impact of age on the decisions to implant, replace, and deactivate implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in elderly patients (≥75 years). Recent Findings: Current national trends indicate that increasing numbers of ICD recipients are elderly and that elderly patients receive ICDs in a much higher proportion than was represented in randomized controlled trials. Increasing age and increasing comorbidity burden reduce the potential survival benefit from ICD implantation. Multiple risk assessment models are reviewed, as are their limitations. Perspectives regarding ICD deactivation at end of life are explored. Summary: Because elderly patients are more likely to die from nonarrhythmic causes, the survival benefit that elderly patients receive from ICD implantation is reduced. Physicians should accurately represent the benefits and risks when counseling elderly patients with an indication for ICD implantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Geriatrics Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy
  • Elderly
  • Frailty
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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