Author(s): Exner DV, Pinski SL, Wyse DG, Renfroe EG, Follmann D,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: Electrical storm, multiple temporally related episodes of ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF), is a frequent problem among recipients of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). However, insufficient data exist regarding its prognostic significance. METHODS AND RESULTS: This analysis includes 457 patients who received an ICD in the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators (AVID) trial and who were followed for 31 +/- 13 months. Electrical storm was defined as > or = 3 separate episodes of VT/VF within 24 hours. Characteristics and survival of patients surviving electrical storm (n = 90), those with VT/VF unrelated to electrical storm (n = 184), and the remaining patients (n = 183) were compared. The 3 groups differed in terms of ejection fraction, index arrhythmia, revascularization status, and baseline medication use. Survival was evaluated using time-dependent Cox modeling. Electrical storm occurred 9.2 +/- 11.5 months after ICD implantation, and most episodes (86\%) were due to VT. Electrical storm was a significant risk factor for subsequent death, independent of ejection fraction and other prognostic variables (relative risk [RR], 2.4; 95\% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 4.2; P = 0.003), but VT/VF unrelated to electrical storm was not (RR, 1.0; 95\% CI, 0.6 to 1.7; P = 0.9). The risk of death was greatest 3 months after electrical storm (RR, 5.4; 95\% Cl, 2.4 to 12.3; P = 0.0001) and diminished beyond this time (RR, 1.9; 95\% CI, 1.0 to 3.6; P=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Electrical storm is an important, independent marker for subsequent death among ICD recipients, particularly in the first 3 months after its occurrence. However, the development of VT/VF unrelated to electrical storm does not seem to be associated with an increased risk of subsequent death.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology