Primary Results From the Understanding Outcomes With the S-ICD in Primary Prevention Patients With Low Ejection Fraction (UNTOUCHED) Trial

the UNTOUCHED Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The subcutaneous (S) implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is safe and effective for sudden cardiac death prevention. However, patients in previous S-ICD studies had fewer comorbidities, had less left ventricular dysfunction, and received more inappropriate shocks (IAS) than in typical transvenous ICD trials. The UNTOUCHED trial (Understanding Outcomes With the S-ICD in Primary Prevention Patients With Low Ejection Fraction) was designed to evaluate the IAS rate in a more typical, contemporary ICD patient population implanted with the S-ICD using standardized programming and enhanced discrimination algorithms. METHODS: Primary prevention patients with left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35% and no pacing indications were included. Generation 2 or 3 S-ICD devices were implanted and programmed with rate-based therapy delivery for rates ≥250 beats per minute and morphology discrimination for rates ≥200 and <250 beats per minute. Patients were followed for 18 months. The primary end point was the IAS-free rate compared with a 91.6% performance goal, derived from the results for the ICD-only patients in the MADIT-RIT study (Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial-Reduce Inappropriate Therapy). Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed to evaluate event-free rates for IAS, all-cause shock, and complications. Multivariable proportional hazard analysis was performed to determine predictors of end points. RESULTS: S-ICD implant was attempted in 1116 patients, and 1111 patients were included in postimplant follow-up analysis. The cohort had a mean age of 55.8±12.4 years, 25.6% were women, 23.4% were Black, 53.5% had ischemic heart disease, 87.7% had symptomatic heart failure, and the mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 26.4±5.8%. Eighteen-month freedom from IAS was 95.9% (lower confidence limit, 94.8%). Predictors of reduced incidence of IAS were implanting the most recent generation of device, using the 3-incision technique, no history of atrial fibrillation, and ischemic cause. The 18-month all-cause shock-free rate was 90.6% (lower confidence limit, 89.0%), meeting the prespecified performance goal of 85.8%. Conversion success rate for appropriate, discrete episodes was 98.4%. Complication-free rate at 18 months was 92.7%. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates high efficacy and safety with contemporary S-ICD devices and programming despite the relatively high incidence of comorbidities in comparison with earlier S-ICD trials. The inappropriate shock rate (3.1% at 1 year) is the lowest reported for the S-ICD and lower than many transvenous ICD studies using contemporary programming to reduce IAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2021


  • arrhythmias
  • cardiac
  • defibrillators
  • heart failure
  • implantable
  • primary prevention
  • sudden cardiac death
  • ventricular fibrillation
  • ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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