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Circulation. 1979 Nov;60(5):998-1003.

Ventricular ectopic beats and their relation to sudden and nonsudden cardiac death after myocardial infarction.


The role of ventricular ectopic beats (VEBs) in identifying patients who die of cardiac cause in the posthospital phase of myocardial infarction was evaluated in 940 patients who survived an acute coronary event. Six-hour Holter ECG recordings were obtained before hospital discharge, and VEBs were classified as complex (bigeminal, multiform, repetitive or R on T), simple (one or more VEBs that did not have complex patterns), or not present. Patients were followed 1-60 months (average 36 months) and cardiac mortality was categorized as sudden (less than or equal to 1 hour) or nonsudden (greater than 1 hour) among 98 witnessed cardiac deaths. Complex VEBs were associated with a significantly increased cardiac death rate, but did not discriminate between sudden and nonsudden death. Simple VEBs were associated with a 3-year cardiac mortality rate intermediate between those with complex and those with no VEBs. The relationship between complex VEBs and cardiac mortality was independent of 10 relevant clinical variables.

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