Patients' knowledge and opinions of ICDs during life, illness and at the time of death.

Research paper by Mary M Mooney, Gabrielle G McKee, Eadaoin E McDermott, Sharon S O'Donnell, Paul P Ryan, Debra D Moser, Frances F O'Brien

Indexed on: 12 Apr '19Published on: 11 Apr '19Published in: British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)


Use of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an established therapy for the prevention of sudden cardiac death. However, at the end of life, these devices can prolong the dying experience, causing physical and psychological trauma. Patients are often unaware of their options regarding ICD management at the end of their life, which highlights the need for health professionals to have these discussions with patients. This study aimed to identify patients' knowledge and opinions about their ICD and the factors influencing their knowledge and opinions. Of the 30 participants in this study, 59% had sufficient knowledge about ICDs. There was no relationship between knowledge and time since implantation (p=0.11). A relationship existed between knowledge and age; those that were older were better informed (p=0.008). The authors conclude that patient education and communication are essential for patients with ICDs to enhance decision-making about ICD management at the end of life.