Subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator troubleshooting in patients with a left ventricular assist device: A case series and systematic review


      There are limited data on the performance of the subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (S-ICD) in patients with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).


      The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical course and outcomes of patients with both an S-ICD and an LVAD at our institution and via a systematic review of published studies.


      We performed a retrospective cohort study of all patients who underwent LVAD implantation from 2009 to 2019 at Duke University Hospital. We also performed a systematic review of studies involving patients with an S-ICD and LVAD using the PubMed/Embase databases.


      Of 588 patients undergoing LVAD implantation with a preexisting implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, 4 had an S-ICD in situ after LVAD implantation. All 4 patients developed electromagnetic interference (EMI) in the primary/secondary vectors after LVAD implantation, resulting in inappropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shocks in 2 patients. Sensing in the alternate vector was adequate immediately postoperatively in 1 patient. Postoperative undersensing was present in the alternate vector in 3 patients but improved at first outpatient follow-up in 2 patients, allowing tachy therapies to be reenabled. Eight studies involving 27 patients were identified in the systematic review. EMI was common and frequently absent in the alternate vector (6 of 7 patients).


      Undersensing and EMI are common after LVAD implantation in patients with an S-ICD in situ, particularly in the primary and secondary sensing vectors. Undersensing in the alternate vector may improve during follow-up, obviating the need for device revision or extraction.


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