Employment Status and Sick Leave After First-Time Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation: Results From the COPE-ICD Trial

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In the Copenhagen Outpatient Programme–Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (COPE-ICD) Trial, a positive effect from a cost-saving, comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program was found on physical and mental health in patients with ICDs.


In the context of the COPE-ICD Trial, the aims of this study is to investigate (a) employment status after ICD implantation, (b) the number of sick days related to ICD implantation, (c) differences in employment status and sick days between rehabilitation and usual care groups, and (d) predictors of employment status and sick leave.


Patients with first-time ICD implantation were randomized to comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation or usual care. One year after ICD implantation, patients answered questions about employment status and sick leave. Differences were tested using the Student t test and the χ2 test. Predictors of employment status and sick leave were tested using logistic regression and linear regression models.


A total of 196 patients were randomized. The questionnaire was completed by 138 patients (70%). In total, 47% had worked before ICD implantation. After 1 year, 81% were still working and their mean (SD) number of sick days was 33.8 (58.3). Age 60 years or younger and secondary ICD indication were predictors of working after 1 year. Patients with secondary ICD indication had more sick days and patients who were not married had fewer sick days.


Most patients who worked before ICD implantation returned to work after the ICD was placed. Those who were married and had an ICD for secondary prevention took more sick days after the ICD than did those without these characteristics. Those who were younger and have a secondary indication ICD were more likely to be working 1 year after ICD implantation.

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