This study was conducted to assess the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in post myocardial infarction patients and to determine the predictive value of various risk markers in identifying cardiac mortality and SCD.
Left ventricular function, arrhythmias on Holter and microvolt T wave alternans (MTWA) were assessed in patients with prior myocardial infarction and ejection fraction ≤ 40%. The primary outcome was a composite of cardiac death and resuscitated cardiac arrest during follow up. Secondary outcomes included total mortality and SCD.
Fifty-eight patients were included in the study. Eight patients (15.5%) died during a mean follow-up of 22.3 ± 6.6 months. Seven of them (12.1%) had SCD. Among the various risk markers studied, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 30% (Hazard ratio 5.6, 95% CI 1.39 to 23) and non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) in holter (5.7, 95% CI 1.14 to 29) were significantly associated with the primary outcome in multivariate analysis. Other measures, including QRS width, heart rate variability, heart rate turbulence and MTWA showed no association.
Among patients with prior myocardial infarction and reduced left ventricular function, the rate of cardiac death was substantial, with most of these being sudden cardiac death. Both LVEF ≤30% and NSVT were associated with cardiac death whereas only LVEF predicted SCD. Other parameters did not appear useful for prediction of events in these patients. These findings have implications for decision making for the use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators for primary prevention in these patients.

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