In high-risk patients, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) can convert the mode of death from arrhythmic to pump failure death. Therefore, we introduced the concept of 'ICD-resistant mortality' (IRM), defined as death (a) without previous appropriate ICD intervention (AI), (b) within 1 month after the first AI, or (c) within 1 year after the initial ICD implantation. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation in patients with a high risk of IRM should be avoided.METHODS AND RESULTS: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients with ischaemic heart disease were included if a digitized 24 h Holter was available pre-implantation. Demographic, electrocardiographic, echocardiographic, and 24 h Holter risk factors were collected at device implantation. The primary endpoint was IRM. Cox regression analyses were used to test the association between predictors and outcome. We included 130 patients, with a mean left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 33.6 ± 10.3%. During a follow-up of 52 ± 31 months, 33 patients died. There were 21 cases of IRM. Heart rate turbulence (HRT) was the only Holter parameter associated with IRM and total mortality. A higher New York Heart Association (NYHA) class and a lower body mass index were the strongest predictors of IRM. Left ventricular ejection fraction predicted IRM on univariate analysis, and was the strongest predictor of total mortality. The only parameter that predicted AI was non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.CONCLUSION: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation based on NYHA class and LVEF leads to selection of patients with a higher risk of IRM and death. Heart rate turbulence may have added value for the identification of poor candidates for ICD therapy. Available Holter parameters seem limited in their ability to predict AI.