During the recent ‘first wave’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Service (NHS) has triaged planned services to create surge capacity. The primary prevention implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) was in a grey area of triage guidance, but it was suggested as a procedure that could be reasonably stopped. Recent reports have highlighted deaths of patients awaiting ICDs who may have been deferred during the pandemic. In our trust we reorganised our device service and continued to implant primary prevention ICDs during the ‘first wave’ and, here, report that most patients wished to proceed and underwent uncomplicated implantations. One patient later died from COVID-19, although the transmission site cannot be definitively concluded. With strict adherence to public health guidance and infection prevention strategies, we believe that ICD implantation can be performed safely during the pandemic, and this should be standard practice during subsequent surges.
For UK healthcare professionals only