This study aimed to evaluate the effect of cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator (CRT-D) on the risks of first and recurrent ventricular tachyarrhythmic events (VTEs) in the MADIT-CRT.
Reverse remodeling associated with CRT-D therapy was suggested to reduce arrhythmic risk. However, the effect of the device on the risk of recurrent VTEs among patients who experience a first arrhythmic event has not been investigated.
The CRT-D versus defibrillator-only risks for first and subsequent fast VTEs (>180 beats/min) were assessed by Cox proportional hazards and Andersen-Gill proportional intensity regression modeling, respectively, in efficacy analyses recognizing active device-type during follow-up.
Multivariate analysis showed that CRT-D was associated with a significant 29% (p = 0.003) reduction in the risk of a first VTE, with a pronounced effect among patients with left bundle branch block (LBBB) (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.58; p < 0.001) and no significant effect among non-LBBB patients (HR: 1.05; p = 0.82, p for the difference = 0.02). Patients with LBBB who experienced a first VTE had no change in the risk of subsequent VTEs with CRT-D (HR: 0.98; p = 0.85). In contrast, the risk of recurrent VTEs with CRT-D was significantly increased among non-LBBB patients (HR: 3.62; p = 0.002, p for the difference = 0.009). Recurrent VTEs increased the risk of subsequent heart failure or death.
In MADIT-CRT, active treatment with CRT-D was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of life-threatening VTEs. However, our findings suggest that CRT-D does not reduce the risk of subsequent VTEs in patients who experience a first arrhythmic event and may increase subsequent arrhythmic risk in non-LBBB patients. (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy [MADIT-CRT]; NCT00180271)