Substantial numbers of deaths occur among implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) recipients. Timely follow-up after ICD implantation might improve patient outcomes. Our objective was to examine follow-up care and outcomes among patients undergoing ICD implantation.
We compared patient characteristics and outcomes of those with late (> 12 weeks) vs early defibrillator clinic follow-up after ICD implantation in the Ontario ICD Database from 2007 to 2011. We examined the effect of ICD clinic follow-up visits after implant compared with primary care physician tracer on mortality outcomes using time-varying covariate analyses.
Among 8096 ICD recipients (age 64.6 ± 12.6 years), 1145 (14%) received delayed follow-up. Patients with early ICD clinic follow-up experienced reduced risk of all-cause mortality, with a hazard ratio [HR] of 0.69 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.95; P = 0.023) adjusted for clinical factors, primary care visits after discharge, and distance to follow-up centre. Early ICD clinic follow-up was associated with a reduction in out-of-hospital death with adjusted HR of 0.52 (95% CI, 0.36-0.76; P = 0.001) but not with a significant change in cardiovascular hospitalizations. In a tracer analysis, early primary care physician follow-up was associated with a nonsignificant trend toward increased mortality with an adjusted HR of 1.48 (95% CI, 0.97-2.25; P = 0.072). Reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate, secondary prevention or replacement devices, myocardial ischemia, smoking, and greater geographic distance to the implanting centre increased the odds of delayed follow-up.
After device implantation, early defibrillator clinic follow-up was associated with reduced risk of all-cause and out-of-hospital death compared with those experiencing delayed follow-up.