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Herzschrittmacherther Elektrophysiol. 2015 Jun;26(2):155-62. doi: 10.1007/s00399-015-0364-8. Epub 2015 Jun 2.

Ventricular tachycardias in patients with pulmonary hypertension: an underestimated prevalence? A prospective clinical study.

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University of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), Giessen, Germany,



Sudden cardiac death (SCD) accounts for approximately 30 % in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The exact circumference for SCD in this patient population is still unclear. Malignant cardiac arrhythmias are reported to be rarely present. There are no systematic data concerning long-term electrocardiographic (ECG) recording in patients with PAH.


We sought to investigate the rate of potentially relevant arrhythmias in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH).


Consecutive patients without diagnosis of known cardiac arrhythmias followed in our outpatient clinic for PH were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent a 72-h Holter ECG. Clinical data, 6-min walk distance, laboratory values, and echocardiography were collected/performed.


Ninety-two consecutive patients (New York Heart Association class (NYHA) III/IV: 65.2 %/5.4 %, PH Group 1: 35.9 %, Group 3: 10.9 %, Group 4: 28.3 %, Group 5: 2.2 %) were investigated. Relevant arrhythmias were newly detected in 17 patients: non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (n = 12), intermittent second-degree heart block (n = 1), intermittent third-degree heart block (n= 3), and atrial flutter (n = 1). Echocardiographic systolic pulmonary pressure and diameter of the right heart were elevated in patients with relevant arrhythmias. Right heart catheterization revealed higher pulmonary vascular resistance (672 vs. 542 dyn · s · cm(-5), p = 0.247) and lower cardiac index (2.46 vs. 2.82 l/min/m(2), p = 0.184).


Ventricular tachycardias occur more often in PH patients than previously reported. However, the prognostic relevance of non-sustained ventricular tachycardias in this cohort remains unclear. As a large number of PH patients die from SCD, closer monitoring, e.g., using implantable event recorders, might be useful to identify patients at high risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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