The 2018 Australian guidelines recommendations require further clarification to ensure eligible patients will receive appropriate ICD therapy
The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) has been shown to be a cost‐effective option for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). However, in the recently published 2018 guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of heart failure in Australia, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Heart Failure Guidelines Working Group downgraded the recommendation for primary prevention ICD to decrease mortality in patients with HFrEF and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 35% or below associated with non‐ischaemic cardiomyopathy (NICM).1,2 In particular, the level of recommendation and quality of evidence for primary prevention ICD was deemed weak and low for NICM versus strong and moderate for ischaemic cardiomyopathy, respectively. The document cited the lack of single randomised controlled trials demonstrating mortality benefits with primary prevention ICD in patients with NICM. It also highlighted recent prospective randomised controlled data of 1116 patients with HFrEF and LVEF 35% or below associated with non‐ischaemic causes from the DANISH trial — a Danish study to assess the efficacy of ICD in patients with non‐ischaemic systolic heart failure on mortality — whereby primary prevention ICD did not reduce mortality compared with usual clinical care over a median follow‐up duration of 67.6 months (interquartile range, 49–85 months).3
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