Background Subclinical cardiac dysfunction has been associated with increased mortality, and heart failure increases the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Less well known is whether subclinical cardiac dysfunction is also a risk factor for SCD. Our objective was to assess the association between echocardiographic parameters and SCD in a community-dwelling population free of heart failure. Methods and Results We computed hazard ratios (HRs) for left atrium diameter, left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic dimension, LV end-systolic dimension, LV mass, qualitative LV systolic function, LV fractional shortening, and diastolic function. During a median follow-up of 6.3 years in 4,686 participants, 68 participants died because of SCD. Significant associations with SCD were observed for qualitative LV systolic function and LV fractional shortening. For moderate/poor qualitative LV systolic function, the HR for SCD was 2.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-5.87). Each standard deviation decrease in LV fractional shortening was associated with an HR of 1.36 (95% CI 1.09-1.70). Conclusions Subclinical abnormalities in LV systolic function were associated with SCD risk in this general population. Although prediction of SCD remains difficult and traditional cardiovascular risk factors are of greatest importance, this knowledge might guide future directions to prevent SCD in persons with subclinical cardiac dysfunction.

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Journal of Cardiac Failure
Department of Cardiology

Niemeijer, M., Leening, M., van den Berg, M., Hofman, A., Franco, O., Deckers, J., … Eijgelsheim, M. (2016). Subclinical Abnormalities in Echocardiographic Parameters and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in a General Population: The Rotterdam Study. Journal of Cardiac Failure, 22(1), 17–23. doi:10.1016/j.cardfail.2015.06.007