Indexed on: 17 Oct '06Published on: 17 Oct '06Published in: Journal of Internal Medicine
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are a life-saving therapy for many patients with cardiovascular disease at increased risk of fatal dysrhythmias. As men comprise the majority of the study population (67-92%) in clinical trials, the benefit to women is unknown. We performed a meta-analysis of primary prevention trials to evaluate the impact of ICDs in men and women on death from any cause.Included trials met the following criteria: (i) randomized controlled trials versus standard of care, (ii) ICD used as primary prevention in a well-described protocol and (iii) data provided on risk of death from any cause for both male and female patients.Five clinical trials were included in this meta-analysis. The risk of death from any cause was significantly reduced by 26% in male patients who received ICD therapy compared to control, hazard ratio (HR) 0.74 (95% CI 0.60-0.91) but not amongst female patients, HR 0.81 (95% CI 0.60-1.09). As the COMPANION trial evaluated the combination of biventricular pacemaker with ICD therapy we conducted a separate analysis without the inclusion of this study. Male patients receiving ICD therapy demonstrated a similar 24% reduction in risk of death from any cause, HR 0.76 (95% CI 0.58-0.99) whilst female patients demonstrated a reduction of only 12%, HR 0.88 (95% CI 0.63-1.22).Unlike their male counterparts, females did not significantly benefit from ICD therapy and without concurrent biventricular pacing, appear only to achieve a nonsignificant 12% reduction in risk of death.