Patients with a recent episode of unstable angina have a 10% 1-year risk of sudden cardiac death. To determine prospectively whether electrophysiologic testing might be useful in predicting sudden death, 20 patients admitted to our hospital underwent programmed electrical stimulation as part of their evaluation. None had persistent angina, severe congestive heart failure, or sustained arrhythmias at the time of testing. Because of their long-term benefits, beta-blocking agents were continued whenever possible (18 of 20 patients). Ten of 20 patients (50%) had inducible ventricular tachycardia. In 19.5 months' mean follow-up, three patients (15%) either died suddenly or survived an episode of ventricular fibrillation. Programmed electrical stimulation was an insensitive (33%) and nonspecific (47%) predictor of sudden death in these patients. Programmed ventricular stimulation soon after admission for unstable angina is not a useful prognostic indicator for sudden death. Such patients do have a frequent induction of ventricular arrhythmias which appears to be a nonspecific marker of underlying coronary disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine