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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Nov 15;38(6):1718-24.

Life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias due to transient or correctable causes: high risk for death in follow-up.

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  • 1Cardiology Division, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



This study evaluated the prognosis of patients resuscitated from ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) with a transient or correctable cause suspected as the cause of the VT/VF.


Patients resuscitated from VT/VF in whom a transient or correctable cause has been identified are thought to be at low risk for recurrence and often receive no primary treatment for their arrhythmias.


In the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators (AVID) trial, patients with a potentially transient or correctable cause of VT/VF were not eligible for randomization. The mortality of these patients was compared with the mortality of patients with a known high risk of recurrence of VT/VF in the AVID registry.


Compared with patients having high risk VT/VF, those with a transient or correctable cause for their presenting VT/VF were younger and had a higher left ventricular ejection fraction. These patients were more often treated with revascularization as the primary therapy, more commonly received a beta-blocker, less often required therapy for congestive heart failure and less commonly received either an antiarrhythmic drug or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Nevertheless, subsequent mortality of patients with a transient or correctable cause of VT/VF was no different or perhaps even worse than that of the primary VT/VF population.


Patients identified with a transient or correctable cause for their VT/VF remain at high risk for death. Further research is needed to define truly reversible causes of VT/VF. Meanwhile, these patients may require more aggressive evaluation, treatment and follow-up than is currently practiced.

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