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Am Heart J. 1993 Apr;125(4):1011-7.

Cardiac arrest and sudden unexpected death in variant angina: complications of coronary spasm that can occur in the absence of severe organic coronary stenosis.

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  • Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.


Experiences in 81 patients with variant angina were reviewed with the goal of determining which clinical features were associated with the greatest risk of angina-linked cardiac arrest (13 patients) or sudden unexpected death (9 patients). The risk of occurrence of one of these actually or potentially fatal events was approximately tripled by the presence of either a history of angina-linked syncope or documentation of serious arrhythmia complicating attacks. An unexpected finding was that the risk was increased 1.5-fold by the absence of high-grade organic coronary stenosis. Cardiac arrest and sudden death are important risks of variant angina, which can occur without the presence of severe organic coronary stenosis. These risks can be reduced by adequate vasodilator therapy that includes a calcium channel blocker.

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