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The use of wearable cardioverter-defibrillators in Europe: results of the European Heart Rhythm Association survey

Radosław Lenarczyk, Tatjana S. Potpara, Kristina H. Haugaa, Antonio Hernández-Madrid, Elena Sciaraffia, Nikolaos Dagres on behalf of Conducted by the Scientific Initiatives Committee, European Heart Rhythm Association
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euw003 146-150 First published online: 3 February 2016


The aim of this European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) survey was to collect data on the use of wearable cardioverter-defibrillators (WCDs) among members of the EHRA electrophysiology research network. Of the 50 responding centres, 23 (47%) reported WCD use. Devices were fully reimbursed in 17 (43.6%) of 39 respondents, and partially reimbursed in 3 centres (7.7%). Eleven out of 20 centres (55%) reported acceptable patients' compliance (WCD worn for >90% of time). The most common indications for WCD (8 out of 10 centres; 80%) were covering the period until re-implantation of ICD explanted due to infection, in patients with left ventricular impairment due to myocarditis or recent myocardial infarction and those awaiting heart transplantation. Patient life expectancy of <12 months and poor compliance were the most commonly reported contraindications for WCD (24 of 46 centres, 52.2%). The major problems encountered by physicians managing patients with WCD were costs (8 of 18 centres, 44.4%), non-compliance, and incorrect use of WCD. Four of 17 centres (23.5%) reported inappropriate WCD activations in <5% of patients. The first shock success rate in terminating ventricular arrhythmias was 95–100% in 6 of 15 centres (40%), 85–95% in 4 (26.7%), 75–85% in 2 (13.3%), and <75% in 3 centres (20%). The survey has shown that the use of WCD in Europe is still restricted and depends on reimbursement. Patients’ compliance remains low. Heterogeneity of indications for WCD among centres underscores the need for further research and a better definition of indications for WCD in specific patient groups.

  • Wearable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Ventricular arrhythmias
  • Prevention
  • Heart failure
  • EHRA survey
  • EP wire
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