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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2013 Jan;24(1):60-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2012.02407.x. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Low rate of secondary prevention ICDs in the general population: multiple-year multiple-source surveillance of sudden cardiac death in the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.

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Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.



Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a large public health problem that warrants on-going evaluation in the general population. While single-year community-based studies have been performed there is a lack of studies that have extended evaluation to multiple years in the same community.


From the on-going Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, we analyzed prospectively identified SCD cases in Multnomah County, Ore, (population ≈700,000) from February 1, 2002 to January 31, 2005. Detailed information ascertained from multiple sources (first responders, clinical records, and medical examiner) was analyzed. A total of 1,175 SCD cases were identified (61% male) with a mean age of 65 ± 18 years for men versus 70 ± 20 for women (P < 0.001). The overall incidence rate for the period was 58/100,000 residents/year. One-quarter (24.6%) was ≤ 55 years of age. The most common initial rhythm was ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation (39% of cases, survival 27%) followed by asystole (36%, survival 0.7%) and pulseless electrical activity (23%, survival 6%). Among subjects that underwent resuscitation, the rate of survival to hospital discharge was 12% and overall survival to hospital discharge irrespective of resuscitation was 8%. Of the 68 survivors, 16 (24%) received a secondary prevention ICD.


We report annualized SCD incidence from a multiple-year, multiple-source community-based study, with higher than expected rates of women and subjects age ≤ 55 years. The low implantation rate of secondary prevention ICDs is likely to be multifactorial, but there are potential implications for recalibration of the projected need for ICD implantation; larger and more detailed studies are warranted.

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