Sudden death secondary to cardiac arrhythmias: mechanisms and treatment strategies.Curr Opin Cardiol. 2006 Sep; 21(5):517-25.CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
This article reviews mechanisms and available therapeutic options for arrhythmias leading to sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary artery disease.
Intensive efforts have led to a better understanding of the pathophysiology and various treatments of sudden cardiac death. Antiarrhythmic medications have not demonstrated a survival benefit. Beta-adrenergic blocking agents have been revalidated in recent studies to improve survival and reduce risk of sudden cardiac death in patients with myocardial infarction. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and aldosterone antagonists should also be used in these patients. Data from randomized trials demonstrate significant survival benefit with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator and indications have expanded. Patients with established ischemic cardiomyopathy do not require electrophysiologic studies for induction of tachyarrhythmias based on these trials. One recent trial did not demonstrate mortality reduction with implantable defibrillators in patients with recent myocardial infarction. Devices may not provide survival benefit in patients with advanced New York Heart Association class IV heart failure.
The incidence of arrhythmia-related sudden death in the general population remains relatively high. Better risk stratification tools are needed to identify high-risk patients in the general population and in those with known coronary disease and to exclude low-risk patients.