A new meta-analysis finds that Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are not associated with a mortality benefit in women with advanced heart failure. The researchers in this study examined data from 934 women and 3,810 men across five clinical trials. The results for women indicated wasn’t a statistically significant benefit of implanting an ICDs in women. For men who received ICDs, however, were less likely to die in the followup period.
“Most clinical trials have been heavily weighted toward men; therefore, generalization of the results to women remains questionable. The best answer to this problem would be to perform a clinical trial that specifically targets women with heart failure to test the hypothesis of whether implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation reduces their overall mortality [death] rate,” the authors write. Because clinical guidelines already recommend defibrillator treatment to prevent sudden cardiac death, such a trial may be difficult to propose, they note. “However, on the basis of our findings it seems that a trial targeting women is needed, and a meta-analysis such as ours may be an appropriate first step to explore this hypothesis.”