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Eur Heart J. 2009 Mar;30(6):689-98. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehn537. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Prediction of fatal or near-fatal cardiac arrhythmia events in patients with depressed left ventricular function after an acute myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, Kajaanintie 50, 90014 Oulu, Finland.



To determine whether risk stratification tests can predict serious arrhythmic events after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF < or = 0.40).


A total of 5869 consecutive patients were screened in 10 European centres, and 312 patients (age 65 +/- 11 years) with a mean LVEF of 31 +/- 6% were included in the study. Heart rate variability/turbulence, ambient arrhythmias, signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAECG), T-wave alternans, and programmed electrical stimulation (PES) were performed 6 weeks after AMI. The primary endpoint was ECG-documented ventricular fibrillation or symptomatic sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT). To document these arrhythmic events, the patients received an implantable ECG loop-recorder. There were 25 primary endpoints (8.0%) during the follow-up of 2 years. The strongest predictors of primary endpoint were measures of heart rate variability, e.g. hazard ratio (HR) for reduced very-low frequency component (<5.7 ln ms(2)) adjusted for clinical variables was 7.0 (95% CI: 2.4-20.3, P < 0.001). Induction of sustained monomorphic VT during PES (adjusted HR = 4.8, 95% CI, 1.7-13.4, P = 0.003) also predicted the primary endpoint.


Fatal or near-fatal arrhythmias can be predicted by many risk stratification methods, especially by heart rate variability, in patients with reduced LVEF after AMI.

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