Subcutaneous cardioverter defibrillator has longer time to therapy but is less cardiotoxic than transvenous cardioverter defibrillator. Study carried out in a preclinical porcine model

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Totally subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) delivers higher shock energy and can have longer time to therapy compared to transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (T-ICD). Aim of the study was to compare time to therapy and to investigate cardiac, cerebral and systemic injuries of S-ICD and T-ICD shocks delivered after ventricular fibrillation (VF) induction.

Methods and results

Fourteen pigs were randomly implanted with a S-ICD (n = 7) or a T-ICD (n = 7). Five VF episodes were induced in each pig. For each VF episode, up to two shocks could be delivered by the T-ICD or the S-ICD to terminate the arrhythmia. Cardiac, systemic, and cerebral toxicity were monitored. Mean time to therapy was longer in the S-ICD group compared to the T-ICD group (19[18; 23] s vs. 9 [7; 10] s; P = 0.001, respectively). High-sensitivity troponin T levels were significantly higher in the T-ICD group from 1 to 24 h after the procedure (P ≤ 0.02). Creatine phosphokinase activity levels were significantly higher in the S-ICD group, at 3, 6, and 24 h after the procedure (P ≤ 0.05). Lactate levels were not significantly different between groups. S100 protein level was similar in both groups at 1 h after the procedure and then decreased in the T-ICD group compared to the S-ICD group (P = 0.04).


Time to therapy in S-ICD was twice as long as for T-ICD, but didn’t induce relevant brain injury. Conversely, S-ICD shocks were less cardiotoxic than T-ICD shocks.

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