Background: Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a measure of the size variation of erythrocytes. Its prognostic value has been described in a variety of cardiac and noncardiac diseases. Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is useful in preventing sudden cardiac death in high-risk patients, but many of these patients continue to survive without needing ICD therapy. We sought to examine whether RDW, with its prognostic values, can benefit in risk stratification of patients with ICD by predicting death and ICD therapy, and thus help in the selection of patients who will benefit the most from ICD, and minimizing its implantation in others at low risk of death and arrhythmias. Methods: In a retrospective study, we enrolled patients with ICD implanted for both primary and secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. Baseline RDW values, demographics, and clinical characteristics, as well as the occurrence of death or first appropriate ICD therapy in postimplantation follow-up were collected. We examined whether RDW can predict higher-risk ICD-implanted patients prone to death and first appropriate ICD therapy (the combined outcome). Results: Final population included 432 patients. Compared to others, patients in the upper RDW tertile were older and had more comorbidities and outcomes. In multivariate analysis including RDW, age, gender, and ejection fraction, RDW was the only predictor of the combined outcome. Conclusion: RDW may be useful in risk stratification of patients selected for ICD implantation. But larger prospective randomized trials are needed.
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