Collaborative care for the wearable cardioverter defibrillator patient: Getting the patient and medical team "vested and active".
Patients with a reduced ejection fraction of 35% or less and a history of myocardial infarction (MI) are at increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). These patients have a class I indication for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator after allowing time for medical therapy optimization and potential cardiac recovery. The rates of SCD are highest in this "gap" period early after a cardiac event, and the wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is an intervention that can be used to protect against SCD during this time period. There has been a clinical trial that randomized patients with a reduced ejection fraction at the time of MI to a WCD versus control. Results of the trial showed no statistically significant difference in the primary endpoint of SCD. There are many intricacies to the interpretation of the trial, including the importance of patient adherence to WCD therapy, which is affected by the patient experience and psychological factors. Patients with a new cardiomyopathy are affected by a mix of psychological factors, including the feeling of safety and protection from a WCD contrasted by the WCD providing a reminder of awareness and fear of ventricular arrhythmias and SCD. Beyond the capabilities of a WCD to defibrillate a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia, the device can also provide activity and heart failure diagnostics monitoring. Patients need to be engaged in shared decision-making conversations about a WCD, so that patients can make a decision based on their own values construct, ultimately increasing adherence among the patients that want a WCD.
Sears, SF; Tripp, C; Huber, NL; Khan, S; Nekkanti, R; Burch, AE; Pokorney, SD
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