Protection from outpatient sudden cardiac death following ICD removal using a wearable cardioverter defibrillator

Tanyanan Tanawuttiwat, Juan D. Garisto, Arturo Salow, Joann M. Glad, Steve Szymkiewicz, Heath E. Saltzman, Steven P. Kutalek, Roger G. Carrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is effective in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD). Once an ICD is removed and reimplantation is not feasible, a wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) may be an alternative option. We determined the effectiveness of WCD for SCD prevention in patients who were discharged after ICD removal. Methods A retrospective study was conducted on all WCD (LifeVest, ZOLL, Pittsburgh, PA, USA) patients who underwent ICD removal due to cardiac device infections (CDIs) at two referral centers between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2009. Clinical characteristics, device information, and WCD data were analyzed. Sudden cardiac arrest was defined as all sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation occurring within a single 24-hour period. Results Ninety-seven patients (mean age 62.8 ± 13.3, male 80.4%) were included in the study. The median duration of antibiotic use was 14.7 days (interquartile range [IQR] 10-30). The median daily WCD use was 20 hours/day and the median length of use was 21 days (IQR 5-47). A total of three patients were shocked by WCD. Two patients had four episodes of sustained VT, successfully terminated by the WCD. A third patient experienced two inappropriate treatments due to oversensitivity of the signal artifact. Three patients experienced sudden death outside the hospital while not wearing the device. Five patients died while hospitalized. Conclusion WCD can prevent SCD, until ICD reimplantation is feasible in patients who underwent device removals for CDI. However, patient compliance is essential for the effective use of this device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-568
Number of pages7
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • ICD removal
  • sudden cardiac death
  • wearable cardioverter defibrillator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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