Elevated defibrillation thresholds in patients undergoing biventricular defibrillator implantation: Incidence and predictors

Sumeet K. Mainigi, Joshua M. Cooper, Andrea M. Russo, Hemal M. Nayak, David Lin, Sanjay Dixit, Edward P. Gerstenfeld, Henry H. Hsia, David J. Callans, Francis E. Marchlinski, Ralph J. Verdino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: The biventricular implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is an important therapy for select patients with severe heart failure. Given reported risk factors for elevated defibrillation thresholds (DFTs), patients undergoing biventricular ICD placement would be suspected of having a higher incidence of elevated DFT. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical predictors and mortality risk of elevated DFTs in patients receiving a biventricular ICD. Methods: Characteristics of patients undergoing biventricular ICD placement with an elevated DFT were compared to those without an elevated DFT. Results: An elevated DFT was found in 14 (12%) of 121 patients. Mean QRS duration was 210 ± 50 ms in the elevated DFT group and 171 ± 36 ms in the normal DFT group (P = .01). Patients with a QRS duration ≥200 ms were more likely to have an elevated DFT than those with a duration <200 ms (odds ratio 13.4, 95% confidence interval 3.1-66.7, P <.01). No other clinical characteristics were associated with an elevated DFT. More than 90% of patients with an elevated DFT achieved an adequate safety margin through system modification or manipulation of their drug regimen. An elevated DFT did not have an impact on 2-year mortality. Conclusion: Patients with a biventricular ICD had a 12% incidence of elevated DFT in our sequential patient cohort. QRS duration prior to biventricular ICD placement is the most powerful predictor of patients at risk for an elevated DFT. An elevated DFT does not have an impact on mortality, perhaps because of successful implementation of system modifications to ensure an adequate defibrillation safety margin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1016
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biventricular implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Defibrillation efficacy
  • Defibrillation threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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