Implantable cardioverter defibrillators for prevention of sudden cardiac death

Rishi Sukhija, Vimal Mehta, Marino Leonardi, Jawahar L Mehta
Clinical Cardiology 2007, 30 (1): 3-8
Despite the multiple advances in the field of cardiovascular medicine, the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) continues to rise. Of all SCDs, <25% occur in individuals deemed at high risk by current risk-stratification algorithms; hence, these risk-stratification algorithms are not satisfactory. Until better markers are identified to risk stratify patients, we will see an increasing use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). However, even with the increase in defibrillator use, the impact on overall incidence of SCD may only be modest, as many individuals experience SCD as the first manifestation of cardiovascular disease. Another important challenge is widespread availability of automated external defibrillators and effective utilization of public access defibrillation programs for timely and appropriate management of out-of-hospital victims with cardiac arrest. This review discusses the current understanding on SCD, risk stratification, and management aimed at reducing SCD, particularly with the use of ICDs.

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