‘You can’t start a car when there’s no petrol left’: a qualitative study of patient, family and clinician perspectives on implantable cardioverter defibrillator deactivation

Standing, Holly, Thomson, Richard G., Flynn, Darren, Hughes, Julian, Joyce, Kerry, Lobban, Trudie, Lord, Stephen, Matlock, Dan D., McComb, Janet M., Paes, Paul, Wilkinson, Chris and Exley, Catherine (2021) ‘You can’t start a car when there’s no petrol left’: a qualitative study of patient, family and clinician perspectives on implantable cardioverter defibrillator deactivation. BMJ Open, 11 (7). e048024. ISSN 2044-6055

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Objective: To explore the attitudes towards implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) deactivation and initiation of deactivation discussions among patients, relatives and clinicians. Design: A multiphase qualitative study consisting of in situ hospital ICD clinic observations, and semistructured interviews of clinicians, patients and relatives. Data were analysed using a constant comparative approach. Setting: One tertiary and two district general hospitals in England. Participants: We completed 38 observations of hospital consultations prior to ICD implantation, and 80 interviews with patients, family members and clinicians between 2013 and 2015. Patients were recruited from preimplantation to postdeactivation. Clinicians included cardiologists, cardiac physiologists, heart failure nurses and palliative care professionals. Results: Four key themes were identified from the data: the current status of deactivation discussions; patients’ perceptions of deactivation; who should take responsibility for deactivation discussions and decisions; and timing of deactivation discussions. We found that although patients and doctors recognised the importance of advance care planning, including ICD deactivation at an early stage in the patient journey, this was often not reflected in practice. The most appropriate clinician to take the lead was thought to be dependent on the context, but could include any appropriately trained member of the healthcare team. It was suggested that deactivation should be raised preimplantation and regularly reviewed. Identification of trigger points postimplantation for deactivation discussions may help ensure that these are timely and inappropriate shocks are avoided. Conclusions: There is a need for early, ongoing and evolving discussion between ICD recipients and clinicians regarding the eventual need for ICD deactivation. The most appropriate clinician to instigate deactivation discussions is likely to vary between patients and models of care. Reminders at key trigger points, and routine discussion of deactivation at implantation and during advance care planning could prevent distressing experiences for both the patient and their family at the end of life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This project was funded by The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme, (Project: 11/2004/29). Further information can be found at https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/hsdr/11200429/%23/
Subjects: A900 Others in Medicine and Dentistry
B100 Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
B800 Medical Technology
B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2021 14:32
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 10:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46655

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