Heart, Lung and Circulation

Guideline-Directed Medical Therapy Before and After Primary Prevention Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation in New Zealand (ANZACS-QI 66)

Published:August 20, 2022DOI:


      Guidelines recommend angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi)/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB)/angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNI); beta blockers; and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRA) in patients with symptomatic heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction before consideration of primary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). This study aims to investigate dispensing rates of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) before and after primary prevention ICD implantation in New Zealand.


      All patients receiving a primary prevention ICD between 2009 and 2018 were identified using nationally collected data on all public hospital admissions in New Zealand. This was anonymously linked to national pharmaceutical data to obtain medication dispensing. Medications were categorised as low dose (<50% of target dose), 50–99% of target dose or target dose based on international guidelines.


      Of the 1,698 patients identified, ACEi/ARB/ARNI, beta blockers and MRA were dispensed in 80.2%, 83.6% and 45.4%, respectively, prior to ICD implant. However, ≥50% target doses of each medication class were dispensed in only 51.8%, 51.8% and 34.5%, respectively. Only 15.8% of patients were receiving ≥50% target doses of all three classes of medications. In the 1,666 patients who survived 1 year after ICD implant, the proportions of patients dispensed each class of medications remained largely unchanged.


      Dispensing of GDMT was suboptimal in patients before and after primary prevention ICD implantation in New Zealand, and only a minority received ≥50% target doses of all classes of medication. Interventions are needed to optimise use of these standard evidence-based medications to improve clinical outcomes and avoid unnecessary device implantation.


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