cognitive function, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, memory



  1. Kim, JinShil PhD, RN
  2. Pressler, Susan J. PhD, RN
  3. Groh, William J. MD, MPH


Background: Patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) have decreased cognitive function associated with arrhythmic and/or cardiac disorders, such as ischemic cardiomyopathy. Little is known about changes in cognitive function over time among ICD patients.


Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate baseline-to-12-month changes in cognitive function in memory (total recall and delayed recall), psychomotor speed, and executive function among ICD patients.


Methods: In this prospective study, 115 (mean [SD] age, 64.83 [9.06] years, 75% mean) and 77 ICD patients completed baseline and 12-month face-to-face interviews, respectively, which included neuropsychological tests to evaluate cognitive function.


Results: Patients who completed baseline and 12-month testing had decreased total and delayed recall memory (all P < .05). No significant changes from baseline to 12 months were observed in psychomotor speed (t = 0.33; P = .74) and executive function (t = -1.12; P = .27). Using 1.0 standard deviation or below the mean as a cutoff criterion, 12% to 22% of ICD patients had poor cognitive function over time. Particularly, at baseline, 17 (15%) and 15 (13%) of the 115 patients had poor memory in total and delayed recall, respectively. At 12 months, 12 (16%) and 9 (12%) of the 77 patients had poor memory in total and delayed recall, respectively.


Conclusions: In this sample of patients with ICDs, memory was poor at baseline and decreased over 12 months. Future studies are indicated to determine how this change in memory influences outcomes such as medication adherence.