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Value of the wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) as a bridging-therapy before implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

Wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCD), initially available in 2002, have recently experienced more routine use in many institutions as a means of preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) prior to implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) evaluation or implantation. WCD differ from ICD by their noninvasive nature, making them well suited for patient populations who have a chance for significant cardiac recovery (such as after an acute myocardial infarction).

Despite their noninvasive nature, WCD treatment of sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias is highly successful. An additional feature is the use of response buttons, which reduces the number of conscious shocks. Duration of use varies by condition but is typically several weeks to several months. Numerous studies have shown good compliance with WCD use and excellent efficacy. Although few prospective studies have been published, several are in progressive including a randomized control trial of high risk patients after myocardial infarction.

WCD use is rapidly gaining popularity for patients with recent myocardial infarction, recent-onset cardiomyopathies, and acute or subacute myocarditis. Surgical delays in implanting an indicated ICD or after ICD removal are also common. WCD removal occurs when the patient either qualifies for an ICD implantation or is determined to no longer have elevated SCD risk.

Credits: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Johannes Sperzel

Biosense Webster
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Introduction to AFib
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