Objectives: We postulated that the pattern of death would be nonrandom with respect to temporal variables. Background: Previous studies have demonstrated increased sudden death is associated with periods of relative stress, and overall mortality is associated with temporal variables. Methods: In the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators (AVID) registry, vital status was obtained for 4,450 patients (who had a recent episode of sustained ventricular arrhythmias or unexplained syncope and inducible ventricular tachycardia) through the National Death Index Service as of December 31, 1997 (follow-up 25.5 ± 13.7 months). Results: Mortality was not associated with the day of the week or with holidays but was associated with season (P = .033). Seasonal variation was present both in northern and southern sites. Mortality was higher during the winter months compared to the remaining months (111.2% in winter vs 96.5% in other months, P = .036). In addition, increased mortality was associated with a high-risk season variable defined (prior to evaluation of treatment arm associations) as spring in the north and winter in the south (P < .001). The hazard ratio for death associated with this "high-risk season" measured 1.25 (P= .001) compared to the other seasons in each region. A test of interaction between "high-risk" season and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) status suggested that the group with ICDs experienced reduced mortality during the "high-risk season" compared to the group without ICDs (P = .047). Conclusions: Mortality was higher in the winter months and in the respective regional "high-risk" seasons. Furthermore, seasonal variation in mortality may have been due to variation in sudden arrhythmic death, and associated increases in mortality were reduced by ICD therapy.
- Circadian rhythm
- Sudden death
- Ventricular fibrillation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine