Author + information
- Received October 15, 1986
- Revision received January 7, 1987
- Accepted January 14, 1987
- Published online August 1, 1987.
- ↵*Address for reprints: Borys Surawicz, MD, Krannert Institute of Cardiology, 1001 West Tenth Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202.
The hypothesis that ventricular arrhythmias represent an independent predictor of sudden cardiac death was examined by analyzing the published data. The frequency and complexity of ventricular arrhythmias increase progressively both with age and severity of heart disease, but no age- or disease-related norms have been established for clinical guidance. Simple and complex arrhythmias, including short runs of ventricular tachycardia, do not increase risk of sudden cardiac death in subjects without heart disease or with heart disease and normal myocardial function. Progression of nonsustained into sustained ventricular tachycardia in such individuals is rare. Simple and complex ventricular arrhythmias are not strong independent predictors of sudden death in survivors of myocardial infarction. In these, the overall incidence of sudden cardiac death averages 3.5 to 5% during the first year, but is about 15 to 20% per year in patients with severely impaired ventricular function.
The results of this survey suggest that in patients with well preserved ventricular function, prophylactic use of antiarrhythmic drugs is not indicated, and that treatment of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic ventricular arrhythmias is not likely to reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death.
- Received October 15, 1986.
- Revision received January 7, 1987.
- Accepted January 14, 1987.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation