Objective  To determine whether trial-eligible patients who received a primary prevention ICD as documented in a large national registry have a survival rate that differs from the survival rate of similar patients who received an ICD in the 2 largest primary prevention clinical trials, MADIT-II (n = 742) and SCD-HeFT (n = 829).

Design, Setting, and Patients  Retrospective analysis of data for patients enrolled in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD Registry between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007, meeting the MADIT-II criteria (2464 propensity score–matched patients) or the SCD-HeFT criteria (3352 propensity score–matched patients). Mortality data for the registry patients were collected through December 31, 2009.

Main Outcome Measures  Cox proportional hazards models were used to compare mortality from any cause.

Results  The median follow-up time in MADIT-II, SCD-HeFT, and the ICD Registry was 19.5, 46.1, and 35.2 months, respectively. Compared with patients enrolled in the clinical trials, patients in the ICD Registry were significantly older and had a higher burden of comorbidities. In the matched cohorts, there was no significant difference in survival between MADIT-II–like patients in the registry and MADIT-II patients randomized to receive an ICD (2-year mortality rates: 13.9% and 15.6%, respectively; adjusted ICD Registry vs trial hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.85-1.31; P = .62). Likewise, the survival among SCD-HeFT–like patients in the registry was not significantly different from survival among patients randomized to receive ICD therapy in SCD-HeFT (3-year mortality rates: 17.3% and 17.4%, respectively; adjusted registry vs trial hazard ratio, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.97-1.38; P = .11).

Conclusions and Relevance  There was no significant difference in survival between clinical trial patients randomized to receive an ICD and a similar group of clinical registry patients who received a primary prevention ICD. Our findings support the continued use of primary prevention ICDs in similar patients seen in clinical practice.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00000609