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implantable cardioverter defibrillators, Medical Outcomes Short Form-36, partners, quality of life, Quality of Life Index, spouse, ventricular dysrhythmias



  1. Jenkins, Louise S. PhD, RN, FAHA
  2. Powell, Judy L. RN, BSN
  3. Schron, Eleanor B. MS, RN, FAAN, FAHA
  4. McBurnie, Mary Ann PhD
  5. Bosworth-Farrell, Susan BNS, CCRC
  6. Moore, Richard BS
  7. Exner, Derek V. MD, MPH
  8. AVID Investigators


Background and Objective: The quality of life (QOL) of patients with ventricular dysrhythmias is well studied, but less is known about the QOL of their partners. This study describes the QOL of partners of patients with serious ventricular dysrhythmias enrolled in the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators trial.


Subjects and Methods: A convenience sample of 124 partners of patients randomized to antiarrhythmic drugs (n = 59) or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (n = 65) in the Antiarrhythmics versus Implantable Defibrillators trial was obtained. The Short Form-36 and Quality of Life Index were assessed at baseline (postrandomization) and at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up.


Results and Conclusions: The mean age of the partners was 62 years. Most were white and female. Their mean Short Form-36 scores were comparable to a normative age group. Partner and participant mean Short Form-36 and Quality of Life Index scores correlated modestly (range 0.25-0.36). The physical summary scores of partners using the Short Form-36 declined over time, whereas their mental summary scores remained stable. Partner concerns related to death, dysrhythmia recurrence, and the impact of dysrhythmias on enjoyment of life lessened from baseline to 12 months. Concern about implantable cardioverter defibrillator function remained stable over time. Although the sample size of this study was relatively small and limited by missing data for some assessments, it is the largest prospective study of QOL in partners of patients with serious dysrhythmias. The results offer a foundation for future research of the partners of patients with serious dysrhythmias in terms of identifying their needs, offering support, and maximizing QOL.