- Aims Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) with a defibrillator (CRT-D) has downsides of high cost and inappropriate shocks compared to CRT without a defibrillator (CRT-P). Recent data suggest that the survival benefit of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) therapy is attenuated in the older age group. We hypothesized that, among octogenarians eligible for cardiac resynchronization therapy, CRT-P confers similar morbidity and mortality benefits as CRT-D. Methods and results We compared morbidity and mortality outcomes between consecutive octogenarian patients eligible for CRT therapy who underwent CRT-P implantation at Barzilai MC (n = 142) vs. those implanted with CRT-D for primary prevention indication who were prospectively enrolled in the Israeli ICD Registry (n = 104). Among the 246 study patients, mean age was 84 ± 3 years, 74% were males, and 66% had ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that at 5 years of follow-up the rate of all-cause mortality was 43% in CRT-P vs. 57% in the CRT-D group [log-rank P = 0.13; adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.79, 95% CI 0.46–1.35, P = 0.37]. Kaplan–Meier analysis also showed no significant difference in the rates of the combined endpoint of heart failure or death (46 vs. 60%, respectively, log-rank P = 0.36; adjusted HR was 0.85, 95% CI 0.51–1.44, P = 0.55). A Cox proportional hazard with competing risk model showed that re-hospitalizations for cardiac cause were not different for the two groups (adjusted HR 1.35, 95% CI 0.7–2.6, P = 0.37). Conclusion Our data suggest that, in octogenarians with systolic heart failure, CRT-P therapy is associated with similar morbidity and mortality outcomes as CRT-D therapy.