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Ventricular arrhythmia in coronary artery disease: limits of a risk stratification strategy based on the ejection fraction alone and impact of infarct localization.
AIMS: Estimates of the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias related to coronary artery disease (CAD) have rarely been reported despite it has become the basis for determining patient's eligibility for prophylactic defibrillator. We aimed to determine the extent and distribution of reduced LVEF in patients with sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. METHODS AND RESULTS: 252 patients admitted for ventricular arrhythmia related to CAD were included: 149 had acute myocardial infarction (MI) (Group I, 59%), 54 had significant chronic obstructive CAD suggestive of an ischaemic arrhythmic trigger (Group II, 21%) and 49 patients had an old MI without residual ischaemia (Group III, 19%). 34% of the patients with scar-related arrhythmias had an LVEF > or =40%. Based on pre-event LVEF evaluation, it can be estimated that less than one quarter of the whole study population had a known chronic MI with severely reduced LVEF. In Group III, the proportion of inferior MI was significantly higher than anterior MI (81 vs. 19%; absolute difference, -62; 95% confidence interval, -45 to -79; P < or = 0.0001), though median LVEF was higher in inferior MI (0.37 +/- 10 vs. 0.29 +/- 10; P = 0.0499). CONCLUSION: Patients included in defibrillator trials represent only a minority of the patients at risk of sudden cardiac death. By applying the current risk stratification strategy based on LVEF, more than one third of the patients with old MI would not have qualified for a prophylactic defibrillator. Our study also suggests that inferior scars may be more prone to ventricular arrhythmia compared to anterior scars.
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