The US Experience of the Wearable Cardioverter-Defibrillator in Pediatric Patients [Original Articles]


Certain pediatric patients are at risk for sudden cardiac death. The wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) can be used in clinical situations in which implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placement is not ideal. The objectives of the study are to examine the effectiveness, safety, and compliance of the WCD in the identification and treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in pediatric patients.


All United States pediatric patients <18 years who wore a WCD, from 2009 to 2016 were retrospectively reviewed.


In total, 455 patients were identified. The median age was 15 (3–17) years, median duration of WCD use was 33 (1–999) days and median patient wear time was 20.6 (0.3–23.8) hours per day. The population was divided into 2 groups: (1) patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator problem, n=63 and (2) patients with nonimplantable cardioverter-defibrillator problem, n=392. Wear time per day was >20 hours in both groups. Wear duration was shorter in the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator problem group, 26 days versus 35 days, P<0.05. There were 7 deaths (1.5%); all not wearing WCD at time of death. Eight patients (1.8%) received at least 1 WCD shock treatment. Of the 6 patients (1.3%) who had appropriate therapy, there were 7 episodes of either polymorphic ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation with a total of 13 treatments delivered. All episodes were successfully converted and the patients survived.


The WCD has overall adequate compliance with appropriate wear times and wear durations in pediatric patients. The WCD is safe and effective in treating ventricular arrhythmias that can lead to sudden cardiac death in pediatric patients.

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