Recurrent Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Prevalence and Clinical Factors

Elizabeth P. Held, Kyndaron Reinier, Harpriya Chugh, Audrey Uy-Evanado, Jonathan Jui, Sumeet S. Chugh

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1 Scopus citations


Background: Despite improvements in management following survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and wide availability of implantable cardioverter defibrillators for secondary prevention, a subgroup of individuals will suffer multiple distinct episodes of SCA. The objective of this study was to characterize and evaluate the burden of recurrent out-of-hospital SCA among survivors of SCA in a single large US community. Methods: SCA cases were prospectively ascertained in the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study. Individuals that experienced recurrent SCA were identified both prospectively and retrospectively. Results: We ascertained 6649 individuals with SCA (2002-2020) and 924 (14%) survived to hospital discharge. Of these, 88 survivors (10%) experienced recurrent SCA. Of the nonsurvivors (n=5725), 35 had suffered a recurrent SCA. Of the total 123 SCA cases with recurrent SCA, >60% occurred at least 1 year after the initial SCA (median 23 months, range: 6 days to 31 years). SCA occurred despite a secondary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillator in 22% (n=26). Prevalence of coronary disease (36% versus 25%), hypertension (69% versus 43%), diabetes (44% versus 21%), and chronic kidney disease (35% versus 14%) was significantly higher in recurrent SCA versus single SCA survivors (n=80, P=0.01). Among individuals with no secondary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillators before recurrent SCA, the majority had apparently reversible etiologies identified at initial SCA, with one-quarter undergoing coronary revascularization and over half diagnosed with noncoronary cardiac etiologies. Conclusions: At least 10% of SCA survivors had recurrent SCA, and a large subgroup suffered their repeat SCA despite treatment for an apparently reversible etiology. A renewed focus on careful assessment of cardiac substrate as well as management of coronary disease, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease in SCA survivors could reduce recurrent SCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E011018
JournalCirculation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • death, sudden
  • death, sudden, cardiac
  • heart arrest
  • recurrence
  • survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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