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Driving following defibrillator implantation: development and pilot results from a nationwide questionnaire

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BACKGROUND: Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation is associated with driving restrictions which may have profound effects on the patient's life. However, there is limited patient-reported data on the information given about driving restrictions, the adherence to the restrictions, the incidence of arrhythmic symptoms while driving, and the driving restrictions' effect on ICD patients' daily life and quality of life factors. A specific questionnaire was designed to investigate these objectives, intended for use in a nationwide ICD cohort.

METHODS: The conceptual framework based on literature review and expert opinion was refined in qualitative semi-structured focus group interviews with ten ICD patients. Content validity was pursued through pre-testing, including expert review and 28 cognitive interviews with patients at all ICD implanting centres in Denmark. Finally, the Danish Pacemaker and ICD registry was used to randomly select 50 ICD patients with a first-time implantation between January 1, 2013 and November 30, 2016 for pilot testing, followed by a test-retest on 25 respondents. Test-retest agreement was assessed using kappa statistics or intraclass correlation coefficients.

RESULTS: The pilot test achieved a response rate of 78%, whereof the majority were web-based (69%). Only 49% stated they had been informed about any driving restrictions after ICD implantation, whereas the number was 75% after appropriate ICD shock. Among respondents, 95% had resumed private driving, ranging from 1 to 90 days after ICD implantation. In those informed of a significant (≥ 1 month) driving ban, 55% stated the driving restrictions had impeded with daily life, especially due to limitations in maintaining employment or getting to/from work and 25% admitted they had knowingly been driving during the restricted period. There were six episodes of dizziness or palpitations not necessitating stopping the vehicle. Test-retest demonstrated good agreement of questionnaire items, with 69% of Kappa coefficients above 0.60.

CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a comprehensive questionnaire on ICD patients' perspective on driving. Pre-testing and pilot testing demonstrated good content validity, feasible data collection methods, and a robust response rate. Thus, we believe the final questionnaire, distributed to almost 4000 ICD patients, will capture essential evidence to help inform driving guidelines in this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)212
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018

ID: 56116115