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ICD, knowledge, quality of life, uncertainty



  1. Sossong, Ann RN, DNSc


Background and Purpose: Life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias that cause sudden cardiac death claim more than a thousand lives a day. Many sudden cardiac death survivors and those at high risk receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Despite the large number of people living with an ICD, little is known about their ICD knowledge and the impact of this knowledge on their uncertainty and quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this study was to determine if ICD knowledge and uncertainty predict QOL in individuals living with an ICD.


Methods: A purposive sample of 90 ICD recipients was recruited from a large rural Northeastern cardiac clinic. A descriptive correlational design was used. Multiple regression analysis was used to assess relationships among ICD knowledge, uncertainty, and QOL. Confounding variables of age, education, left ventricular ejection fraction, and number of years postimplantation were controlled in the analyses.


Results and Conclusions: Statistically significant relationships were found between uncertainty and QOL, but ICD knowledge was not significantly related to uncertainty or QOL. Younger recipients reported a lower QOL. Education, ejection fraction, number of ICD shocks since implantation, and number of months since implantation were unrelated to ICD knowledge, uncertainty, or QOL in these ICD recipients. It is important to evaluate ICD recipients' understanding of the information they receive and to determine what ICD knowledge, uncertainty, and QOL means from the patient's perspective to assist them in the transitional process of learning to live with an ICD.