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Curr Cardiol Rev. 2009 Jan;5(1):56-64. doi: 10.2174/157340309787048130.

Risk stratification for sudden cardiac death: current approaches and predictive value.

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Division of Cardiology, University of Miami/Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a serious public health problem; the annual incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in North America is approximately 166,200. Identifying patients at risk is a difficult proposition. At the present time, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) remains the single most important marker for risk stratification. According to current guidelines, most patients with LVEF <35% could benefit from prophylactic ICD implantation, particularly in the setting of symptomatic heart failure. Current risk stratification strategies fail to identify patients at risk of SCD in larger population groups encompassing a greater number of potential SCD victims. However, the best approach to identifying patients and the value of various risk stratification tools is not entirely clear. The goal of this review is to discuss the problem of SCD and the value of the different risk stratification markers and their potential clinical use either alone or in combination with other risk stratification markers.


Sudden cardiac death; risk stratification markers.

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