Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a systematic screening/treatment protocol on outcome in patients after aborted sudden death. Background: Patients after aborted sudden death are at high risk for recurrent events. In this regard, systematic screening is mandatory to reveal the underlying etiology, to detect and subsequently treat reversible causes, and to establish patient-tailored antiarrhythmic treatment. Methods: A total of 417 consecutive patients after aborted sudden death due to ventricular arrhythmias underwent echocardiography and coronary angiography. In the presence of coronary artery disease and myocardial ischemia, using stress-rest myocardial perfusion imaging/exercise testing, subsequent revascularization was performed. Patients without ischemic heart disease were further evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging, contrast echocardiography, right ventricular angiography and/or flecainide/ergonovine testing. After these diagnostic steps, final antiarrhythmic therapy was based on the outcome of electrophysiologic testing. Results: The majority of patients had ischemic heart disease (n = 300, 72%). After screening, 78 (78 of 300, 26%) patients underwent revascularization. In 69% of patients, ventricular arrhythmias were inducible during electrophysiologic testing. Therapy consisted of implantable defibrillators in 301 (72%) patients, antiarrhythmic drugs in 239 (57%) patients, and catheter ablation in 58 (14%) patients. During 5-year follow-up, only 3 (<1%) patients died suddenly. The 5-year survival rate was 82%; of 39 deaths, 10 (26%) patients died due to non-cardiac disease and 26 (67%) due to heart failure. Conclusions: Screening and treatment of patients after aborted sudden death according to a standardized protocol resulted in <1% arrhythmic deaths during 5-year follow-up. The majority of patients died of heart failure, stressing the importance of optimizing medical and surgical therapy and screening.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2004.02.009, hdl.handle.net/1765/71534
Heart Rhythm
Department of Cardiology

Borger van der Burg, A., Bax, J., Boersma, E., van Erven, L., Bootsma, M., van der Wall, E., & Schalij, M. J. (2004). Standardized screening and treatment of patients with life-threatening arrhythmias: The leiden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest evaluation study. Heart Rhythm, 1(1), 51–57. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2004.02.009