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General Medicine
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in dialysis patients
  1. Mark T Mills
  1. Department of Cardiology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark T Mills, Department of Cardiology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK; marktmills1{at}

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​Patients with end-stage renal disease on dialysis are at a high risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). The Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator in Dialysis Patients (ICD-2) trial studied the role of the primary prevention ICD in preventing death in dialysis patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≥35%.

Compared with the general population, annual mortality rates are over 10-fold higher in patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing dialysis.1 A large proportion of deaths in dialysis patients are attributed to SCD.2 The annual incidence of SCD in haemodialysis patients is between 5% and 7%, compared with 4% in patients with heart failure, and 1.5%–2.7% in patients with chronic kidney disease not requiring dialysis.2 The increased risk of SCD is ascribed to a combination of proarrhythmogenic factors, including dialysis-induced haemodynamic stress and myocardial ischaemia, electrolyte and fluid shifts, left ventricular hypertrophy and fibrosis, and autonomic dysregulation.2 3

A number of clinical trials have previously identified groups of patients at high risk of SCD who gain a mortality benefit from the insertion of an …

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  • Contributors MTM is the sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.