Sixty-two consecutive patients with chronic coronary artery disease referred for evaluation of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) underwent electrophysiologic studies. Sustained VT was induced by one to three ventricular extrastimuli in 28 patients (45%). Therapy was guided by the results of electrophysiologic testing in 44 patients: 19 patients without inducible sustained VT received no antiarrhythmic therapy, and 25 patients with inducible sustained or symptomatic nonsustained VT received therapy guided by the results of electrophysiologic studies. The results of electrophysiologic studies were ignored by physicians for a second group of 18 patients: four had inducible sustained VT but received no antiarrhythmic therapy, and 14 had inducible sustained or nonsustained VT and received antiarrhythmic therapy not guided by results of electrophysiologic testing. After a mean follow-up period of 28 months, 11 patients had died suddenly. Seven of the 11 patients who died suddenly had inducible sustained VT. Three of 44 patients in the group receiving therapy guided by electrophysiologic studies died suddenly versus eight of 18 in the group receiving therapy not guided by electrophysiologic studies (p = .001).Only one of 19 patients without inducible sustained VT who were not treated experienced sudden death. Two of four patients with inducible sustained VT who did not receive antiarrhythmic therapy died suddenly. Multivariate analysis of the relationship of induced arrhythmias, left ventricular ejection fraction, site of myocardial infarction, history of syncope, or type of antiarrhythmic therapy to outcome revealed a greater than twofold increased risk for sudden cardiac death in patients whose therapy was not guided by results of electrophysiologic study. We conclude that patients with coronary artery disease and nonsustained VT who are asymptomatic and are without inducible sustained VT have a relatively low probability of sudden death and do not require antiarrhythmic therapy. Patients with inducible sustained VT are at a significantly increased risk for sudden cardiac death, and in this group therapy that prevents induction of sustained VT is associated with a lower rate of sudden cardiac death than empiric therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)