Age and the Risk of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmia in Patients With an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator

Mehmet K. Aktaş*, Arwa Younis, Shireen Saxena, Alexander Diamond, Amole Ojo, Valentina Kutyifa, Hillel Steiner, Jonathan S. Steinberg, Wojciech Zareba, Scott McNitt, Bronislava Polonsky, Spencer Z. Rosero, David T. Huang, Ilan Goldenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The benefit of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in elderly patients is controversial. Objectives: The aims of this study were to evaluate the risk for ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VTA) and ICD shocks by age groups and to assess the competing risk for VTA and death without prior VTA. Methods: The study included 5,170 primary prevention ICD recipients enrolled in 5 landmark ICD trials (MADIT [Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial] II, MADIT-Risk, MADIT-CRT [MADIT Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy], MADIT-RIT [MADIT Reduce Inappropriate Therapy], and RAID [Ranolazine in High-Risk Patients With Implanted Cardioverter-Defibrillator]). Fine and Gray regression analysis was used to evaluate the risk for fast VTA (ventricular tachycardia ≥200 beats/min or ventricular fibrillation) vs death without prior fast VTA in 3 prespecified age groups: <65, 65 to <75, and ≥75 years. Results: The cumulative incidence of fast VTA at 3 years was similar for patients <65 years of age and those 65 to <75 years of age (17% vs 15%) and was lowest among patients ≥75 years of age (10%) (P < 0.001). Multivariate Fine and Gray analysis showed a 40% lower risk for fast VTA in patients ≥75 years of age (HR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.46-0.78; P < 0.001) compared with patients <65 years of age. In patients ≥75 years of age, a risk reversal was observed whereby the risk for death without prior fast VTA exceeded the risk for developing fast VTA. A history of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, male sex, and the presence of nonischemic cardiomyopathy were identified as predictors of fast VTA in patients ≥75 years of age. Conclusions: Patients ≥75 years of age have a significantly lower risk for VTA and ICD shocks compared with younger patients. Aging is associated with a higher risk for death compared with the risk for fast VTA, the reverse of what is seen in younger patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-988
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • ICD shock
  • age
  • mortality
  • ventricular fibrillation
  • ventricular tachycardia


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