Electrocardiographic Predictors of Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease

Published:February 24, 2012DOI:
      Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), due mainly to coronary artery disease (CAD), is a leading cause of death. To identify electrocardiographic and clinical differences between patients with CAD with and without SCA, 87 victims of SCA with CAD were compared with 131 patients with CAD without SCA. Patients' latest routine electrocardiograms and clinical variables were compared. Patients with CAD with and without previous myocardial infarctions (MIs) were included. Patients with SCA had a higher incidence of echocardiographic evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy and/or heart failure than controls. The median left ventricular ejection fractions for patients with SCA with and without previous MIs were 0.30 (interquartile range 0.24 to 0.41) and 0.41 (interquartile range 0.25 to 0.56). The median time between the last electrocardiographic assessment and SCA was 59 days (interquartile range 29 to 137). Regarding electrocardiographic characteristics, in patients with and without previous MIs, QRS width (odds ratio 1.032, 95% confidence interval 1.012 to 1.053, p = 0.002, and odds ratio 1.035, 95% confidence interval 1.015 to 1.056, p = 0.001) was the only significant predictor of SCA. In conclusion, in patients with CAD, regardless of a previous MI, a longer QRS width and echocardiographic parameters consistent with heart failure are associated with SCA, even in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy currently not eligible for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
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