Shared Decision-Making about End-of-Life Care Scenarios Compared among Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Patients: A National Cohort Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Circulation: Heart Failure, 2019, 12 (10)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 American Heart Association, Inc. Background: Authors of expert guidelines and consensus statements recommend that decisions at the end-of-life (EOL) be discussed before and after implantation of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and include promotion of shared decision-making. The purpose of this study was to describe experiences, attitudes, and knowledge about the ICD at EOL in ICD recipients and to compare experiences, attitudes, and knowledge in ICD recipients with and without heart failure (HF). We further sought to determine factors associated with having discussions about EOL. Methods and Results: Using a national registry in Sweden of all ICD recipients (n=5355) in 2012, an EOL questionnaire, along with other ICD-related measures, was completed by 2403 ICD recipients. Of the participants, 1275 (n=53%) had HF. Their responses in the knowledge, experience, and attitude domains were almost identical to those without HF. Forty percent of patients with and without HF did not want to discuss their illness trajectory or deactivation of their ICD ever. In logistic regression analyses, we found that having had an ICD shock (OR, 2.05; CI, 1.64-2.56), having high levels of anxiety (OR, 1.41; CI, 1.04-1.92), and having high levels of ICD concerns (OR, 1.53; CI, 1.22-1.92) were the only significant predictors of having discussions with providers about EOL scenarios (P<0.001 for full model). Conclusions: HF was not a predictor of having an EOL conversation. Further research is needed to determine if attitudes related to not wanting to discuss EOL interfere with good quality of life and of death, or if shared decision-making should be encouraged in these individuals.
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