Facility-Level Variation and Clinical Outcomes in Use of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy With and Without an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator


Daniel B Kramer, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Rita Volya, and Laura A Hatfield. 2018. “Facility-Level Variation and Clinical Outcomes in Use of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy With and Without an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator.” Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes, 11, 12, Pp. e004763.


BACKGROUND: Little is known about real-world facility-level preferences for cardiac resynchronization therapy devices with (CRT-D) and without (CRT-P) defibrillator backup. We quantify this variation at the facility level and exploit this variation to compare outcomes of patients receiving these 2 devices. METHODS AND RESULTS: Claims data from fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries were used to identify new CRT-P and CRT-D implants, 2006 to 2012. We modeled factors associated with receipt of each device, and compared mortality, hospitalizations, and reoperations for patients receiving each using both logistic regression and instrumental variable analysis to account for confounding. Among 71 459 device recipients (CRT-P, 11 925; CRT-D, 59 534; 31% women), CRT-P recipients were older, more likely to be women, and had more comorbidities. Variation in device selection among facilities was substantial: After adjustment for patient characteristics, the odds of receiving a CRT-P (versus CRT-D) device were 7.6× higher for a patient treated at a facility in the highest CRT-P use quartile versus a facility in the lowest CRT-P use quartile. Logistic modeling suggested a survival advantage for CRT-D devices but with falsification end points indicating residual confounding. By contrast, in the instrumental variable analysis using facility variability as the proposed instrument, clinical characteristics and falsification end points were well balanced, and 1-year mortality in patients who received CRT-P versus CRT-D implants did not differ, while CRT-P patients had a lower probability of hospitalizations and reoperations in the year following implant. CONCLUSIONS: CRT-P versus CRT-D selection varies substantially among facilities, adjusted for clinical factors. After instrumental variable adjustment for clinical covariates and facility preference, survival was no different between the devices. Therefore, CRT-P may be preferred for Medicare beneficiaries considering new CRT implantation.