• elderly;
  • ventricular arrhythmia;
  • sudden cardiac death;
  • implantable cardioverter-defibrillator;
  • heart failure

Implantable Defibrillators in Octogenarians. Background: The use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in octogenarians is poorly defined.

Objective: To assess baseline electrocardiographic (ECG) findings, arrhythmia episodes, and development of severe nonarrhythmic illness or death in patients aged ≥80 years at ICD implantation, and to compare them with younger patients.

Methods: Medical records and device interrogations for 199 patients ≥70 years old who underwent ICD implantation were reviewed. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on age at the time of implant: age 70–74 (group 1; 88 patients), age 75–79 (group 2; 67 patients), and age ≥80 (group 3; 44 patients).

Results: ECGs: Octogenarians were more likely to have sinus bradycardia (SB) (P = 0.047) and left bundle branch block (LBBB) (P = 0.043) compared to younger patients. There was no difference among groups in the proportion of patients with atrial fibrillation or any degree of AV block.

Therapies: There was no difference between age groups in any therapy (P = 0.78), appropriate therapy (P = 0.54), or inappropriate therapy (P = 0.21) per patient-year. There was no difference between groups in time-to-first therapy of any type (P = 0.71).

Nonarrhythmic death/morbidity: There was no difference between groups in time to death or serious illness.

Conclusion: Our study is the first to evaluate in detail the therapies received by octogenarians after ICD placement. The higher incidence of SB and LBBB might influence the number of pacing sites in octogenarian patients. Very elderly patients have similar rates of arrhythmic episodes and development of severe comorbidities as septuagenarians, and they should not be denied ICD implantation based solely on age. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 21, pp. 236–241, March 2010)