Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) management complexities challenge the ethos of fully informed consent, particularly for the typically multi-morbid elderly patient considering the device for primary prevention. The Heart Rhythm Society recommends providers include discussion on the potential need for later device deactivation or non-replacement at the time of first implant, and to revisit this at appropriate intervals. The initial consent procedure could meet this standard by incorporating the future need to discuss further such issues when the recipient’s clinical condition changes to such an extent that defibrillation would no longer be beneficial. At the time of obtaining consent, some patients may lack the will or capacity to make medically complex decisions when it would be necessary for healthcare surrogate decision-makers to contribute to this process. Ensuring an appropriate level of understanding and response may be enhanced by the use of information and decision aids. With improved communication regarding the nuances of ICD therapy, device eligible patients and those close to them, will be empowered with a better understanding of the nature, benefits and risks of ICD implantation, allowing them to make treatment decisions consistent with their values. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Source: Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology