Defibrillation threshold testing in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Brett D. Roberts, Robert E. Hood, Magdi M. Saba, Timm M. Dickfeld, Anastasios P. Saliaris, Stephen R. Shorofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) decrease sudden cardiac death in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). One of the vital aspects of ICD implantation is the demonstration that the myocardium can be reliably defibrillated, which is defined by the defibrillation threshold (DFT). We hypothesized that patients with HCM have higher DFTs than patients implanted for other standard indications. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients implanted with an ICD at the University of Maryland from 1996 to 2008. All patients with HCM who had DFTs determined were included. Data were compared to selected patients implanted for other standard indications over the same time period. All patients had a dual-coil lead with an active pectoral can system and had full DFT testing using either a step-down or binary search protocol. Results: The study group consisted of 23 HCM patients. The comparison group consisted of 294 patients. As expected, the HCM patients were younger (49 ± 18 years vs 63 ± 12 years; P <0.00001) and had higher left ventricular ejection fractions (66% vs 32%; P <0.000001). The average DFT in the HCM group was 13.9 ± 7.0 Joules (J) versus 9.8 ± 5.1 J in the comparison group (P = 0.0004). In the HCM group, five of the 23 patients (22%) had a DFT ≥ 20 J compared to 19 of 294 comparison patients (6%). There was a significant correlation between DFT and left ventricle wall thickness in the HCM group as measured by echocardiography (r = 0.44; P = 0.03); however, there was no correlation between DFT and QRS width in the HCM group (r = 0.1; P = NS). Conclusions: Our results suggest that patients with HCM have higher DFTs than patients implanted with ICDs for other indications. More importantly, a higher percentage of HCM patients have DFTs ≥ 20 J and the DFT increases with increasing left ventricle wall thickness. These data suggest that DFT testing should always be considered after implanting ICDs in HCM patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1346
Number of pages5
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • defibrillation
  • hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • implantable cardioverter- defibrillator testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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