News | Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) | January 18, 2017

New Study Highlights Benefit of ICDs for Non-ischemic Cardiomyopathy Patients

University of Alabama at Birmingham research team finds employing implantable cardioverter-defibrillators reduces all-cause mortality 23 percent in patient group

ICDs, non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, University of Alabama at Birmingham study, Circulation

January 18, 2017 — A new study published in Circulation has found there is a 23 percent risk in reduction of all-cause mortality in non-ischemic cardiomyopathy patients with use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy.

A team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) identified six clinical trials with 2,970 patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy to study the efficacy of ICD for primary prevention. Investigators reported data on all-cause mortality from these clinical trials.

An ICD is a small device that is placed in the chest or abdomen. Doctors use the device to help treat irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias.

“While the data supporting the use of ICDs is robust in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy, limited clinical trial data existed for similar benefit in patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy,” said senior author Pankaj Arora, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease.

Researchers found that, despite the neutral results of the recently published DANISH trial, the current analyses demonstrated significant clinical benefit on all-cause mortality in favor of ICD use for primary prevention in patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. Additional UAB co-authors of the Circulation manuscript are Navkaranbir Singh Bajaj, M.D., and Garima Arora, M.D., in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease.

“Traditional reliance on ejection fraction — which is the percentage of blood that is ejected out of the ventricles with each contraction — for risk stratification of sudden cardiac death is not an ideal approach,” he said.

Arora noted that, in the future, improvement in risk-prediction models to provide personalized decisions on who should get an ICD hopefully will become standard of care. Until then, the authors concluded that clinical judgment should prevail while assessing risk of sudden cardiac in non-ischemic cardiomyopathy patients with reduced ejection fraction.

For more information:


Golwala, H., Bajaj, N.S., Arora, G., Arora, P. "Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator for Nonischemic Cardiomyopathy: An Updated Meta-Analysis," Circulation. Published Dec. 19, 2016.

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