Implantation of subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillators in Europe: results of the European Heart Rhythm Association survey

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The purpose of this European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) survey is to provide an overview of the current use of subcutaneous cardioverter defibrillators (S-ICDs) across a broad range of European centres.

Methods and results

A questionnaire was sent via the internet to centres participating in the EHRA electrophysiology research network. Questions included standards of care and policies used for patient management, indications, and techniques of implantation of the S-ICDs. In total, 52 centres replied to the questionnaire. More than one-fourth of the responding centres does not implant the S-ICD (n = 14, 27%). The majority reported to have implanted <10 (50%) or 10–29 (23%) S-ICDs during the last 12 months. Lack of reimbursement (25%), non-availability (19%), and cost of the device (25%) seem to limit the use of the S-ICD. The most commonly reported indications for S-ICD implantation are a difficult vascular access (82%), a history of previous complicated transvenous ICD (8O%), young age (69%), or an anticipated higher risk of infection (63%). Inappropriate therapies were the most frequently reported major problems (38%), but the majority of respondents (51%) never encountered any issue after an S-ICD implantation. Most of the respondents (83%) anticipate significant increase of S-ICD use within the next 2 years.


This survey provides a contemporary insight into S-ICD implantation and management in the European electrophysiology centres, showing different approaches, depending on local policies. Cost issues or lack of reimbursement strongly influence the dissemination of the device. However, most respondents retain that S-ICD use will significantly increase in a very short time.

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