The impact of body mass index on the wearable cardioverter defibrillator shock efficacy and patient wear time

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The impact of body mass index (BMI) on the shock efficacy and patient adherence among patients using a wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) is unknown.


Patients prescribed the WCD between January 1, 2008 and June 1, 2013, who experienced at least one episode of sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) and who received appropriate WCD therapy, were identified within a registry maintained by the manufacturer for regulatory, reimbursement, and administrative purposes. The registry contained patients’ Body Mass Index (BMI) which was categorized as normal (18.0 < BMI< 25.0), overweight (25.0 ≤ BMI< 30.0) or obese (30.0 ≥ BMI). Demographics, indication for WCD prescription and other clinical information were reviewed. Device-stored ECG, transthoracic impedance (TTI) and time worn were downloaded for analyses. A post-shock rhythm which was no longer VT or VF was considered a successful tachyarrhythmia conversion. Only the first-shock arrhythmia conversion and TTI were included in the analyses.


A total of 574 patients were included in the final analyses. Patient characteristics were similar across all groups except the obese group (60 ± 11 years) was younger than the normal (63 ± 16 years) and overweight (64 ± 12 years, P = .001) groups. Mean length of use for normal, overweight and obese groups was 79 ± 131, 82 ± 202 and 55 ± 97 days (P = .12), respectively; the median daily wear time was 21 hours among all groups. In a total of 623 VT/VF events, the median TTI was 44 ohms, 51 ohms and 65 ohms for normal, overweight and obese groups, respectively; TTI was positively correlated to BMI (r = 0.33, P < .01). First-shock conversion rate was 92.9% in the normal group, 93.6% and 93.9% in the overweight and obese groups, respectively (P = .93). There was no difference in 24-hour survival among the three groups (91.9%, 94.1% and 92.3%, P = .66).


The WCD first-shock success rate and post-event 24-hour survival were high and independent from BMI. TTI was positively correlated with BMI but did not impact early clinical outcome. WCD was safe to all BMI groups and the patient wear time was excellent across all groups.

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