Role of defibrillation threshold testing during implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placement: Data from the Israeli ICD Registry

Yoav Arnson*, Mahmoud Suleiman, Michael Glikson, Ron Sela, Michael Geist, Guy Amit, Jorge E. Schliamser, Ilan Goldenberg, Shlomit Ben-Zvi, Katia Orvin, Shimon Rosenheck, Nahum Adam Freedberg, Boris Strasberg, Moti Haim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Defibrillation threshold (DFT) testing during placement of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) has been considered mandatory. Accumulating data suggest a more limited role for DFT. Objective The purpose of this study was to compare the outcome of ICD recipients who underwent DFT testing compared with those who did not. Methods In this prospective cohort analysis of patients who received an ICD between July 2010 and March 2013, we compared patients who underwent DFT testing and those who did not. Primary end-points were death and malignant ventricular arrhythmias. Secondary end-points included the composite end-points and inappropriate ICD discharges. Results Of the 3596 patients in the registry, 614 patients (17%) underwent DFT testing during ICD placement vs 2982 (83%) who did not. Variables associated with ICD testing were implantation for secondary prevention (relative risk [RR] 1.87), prior ventricular arrhythmias (RR 1.81), use of antiarrhythmic medication (RR 1.59), and sinus rhythm (RR 2.05). Factors predisposing against testing were cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator implantation (RR 0.56) and concomitant diuretic use (RR 0.71). ICD testing was not associated with 1-year mortality (5.3% vs 5.1%, P =.74), delivery of appropriate shocks (8.6% vs 5.6%, P =.16), combined outcomes of ventricular arrhythmias and death (12.9% vs 11.3%, P =.45), or inappropriate ICD discharges (3.9% vs 2.1%, P =.2) compared to no DFT testing. Conclusion No significant differences in the incidence of mortality, malignant ventricular arrhythmias, or inappropriate ICD discharges were observed between patients who underwent DFT testing compared to those who did not. Our results may support avoiding DFT testing during ICD placement, but this requires confirmation by additional prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-821
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Boston Scientific Corporation


    • Complications
    • Defibrillation threshold
    • Defibrillation threshold testing
    • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
    • Mortality
    • Outcomes


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