Geographic Variation in Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Use and Heart Failure Survival

Department of Veterans Affairs' Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Medical care (Impact Factor: 3.23). 01/2012; 50(1):10-7. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3182293510
Source: PubMed


Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillators (ICD/CRT-Ds) are evidence-based preventative treatments for many patients with heart failure (HF), yet large numbers of eligible patients remain untreated. It is uncertain if localities with more frequent ICD/CRT-D use have had better rates of HF survival.
To determine if US Hospital Referral Regions (HRRs) with larger increases in the rate of ICD/CRT-D utilization during 2002 to 2007 also had commensurate increases in HF survival.
Retrospective cohort.
Medicare beneficiaries age 66 to 80 nonelectively hospitalized for HF from 2002 to 2007.
Each HRR's annual ICD/CRT-D rate was estimated from the cohort's Medicare procedure claims. Survival duration was determined from Medicare mortality records. HRR-year-level panel regression models were estimated to assess whether an HRR's ICD/CRT-D rate predicted HF survival, adjusting for baseline differences in survival across HRRs and secular trends.
A total of 883,002 HF patients were propensity-score matched within HRR across 2002 to 2007. Across HRRs, growth in ICD/CRT-D use among such patients varied from 1 to 12 percentage points. Regression models indicated that a 1 percentage point increase in an HRR's ICD/CRT-D utilization among hospitalized HF patients was associated with an increase in 1-year survival of 0.12% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.03%-0.21%, P=0.009] and with a 0.26% increase in HF survival at 2 years (95% CI, 0.14%-0.37%, P<0.001).
Localities with greater increases in ICD/CRT-D utilization from 2002 to 2007 also had greater improvements in HF survival. Areas with persistently low ICD/CRT-D use may be good targets for programs designed to increase the evidence-based use of defibrillators.

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    • "However, it is noteworthy that these two studies led to similar conclusions with regard to ICD costs and benefits. More recently, another report derived from Medicare data showed how geographical areas in which the prophylactic use of ICDs increased over time showed greater improvements in survival, stressing the need for programs designed to increase the evidence-based use of ICDs [22]. "
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