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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 December;54(6):735-41


language: English

Is implantable defibrillator indicated in all patients on cardiac resynchronization therapy?

Pieragnoli P., Ricciardi G., Colella A., Musilli N., Porciani M. C., Giaccardi M., Padeletti L., Michelucci A.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) have been introduced during the recent years to improve survival, decrease hospital readmissions and mortality, and to improve functional status and quality of life for patients with heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD). Studies which evaluated the use of CRT or ICD alone or compared CRT with CRT-ICD in patients with heart failure and LVSD are listed in this article. The results obtained are already influencing clinical practice in the US, where it has been estimated that 90% of patients receiving a CRT device now are being implanted with an ICD component. However, it is still today debated whether patients with LVSD and heart failure should be routinely offered a CRT-ICD. In fact, there are some issues that still should be solved before to establish indication for CRT-D in all heart failure patients with an indication for CRT: 1) a non complete agreement among the different societies which wrote recommendations for guidelines (a comparative table is reported); 2) a better identification of implantable patients and an amelioration of utilized devices; 3) economic and ethical ramifications of this therapy. Anyway still now the crucial question is: “Can resynchronization be done in isolation or must be accompanied by an ICD device?”. To answer to this question we can only express which is, in our opinion, the actual position of many physicians who work in the field of pacing and electrophysiology: “The lesson to be learned is that we still can not predict surely which patient will die of sudden death. Until a method of identifying the high risk patients can be developed, the safest strategy should be to advise a combined ICD-CRT device for patients with indication for CRT”.


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