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Am Heart J. 1992 Oct;124(4):1035-45.

Sudden death in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1Section of Cardiology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153.


Approximately 30% of deaths among patients with IDCM are sudden. Although ventricular tachyarrhythmias are responsible for many of these deaths, bradyarrhythmias may also play a significant role. Patients with a previous history of sustained ventricular arrhythmias are at high risk for sudden death. In patients without prior symptomatic ventricular arrhythmias a history of unexplained syncope, severely impaired right ventricular hemodynamics, frequent spontaneous ventricular ectopy or NSVT, and inducible SMVT may help identify those at greatest risk of dying suddenly. With the exception of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy, attempts at pharmacologic prevention of sudden death have had limited efficacy. The implantable defibrillator offers promising results in survivors of previous sustained ventricular arrhythmias; its prophylactic use in other high-risk subgroups is the subject of active investigation.

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