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Serum transforming growth factor-beta1 as a risk stratifier of sudden cardiac death

Ali A Sovari, Norishige Morita, James N Weiss, Hrayr S Karagueuzian
Medical Hypotheses 2008, 71 (2): 262-5
Sudden cardiac death prematurely claims the lives of some 7 million each year worldwide. It occurs primarily in patients with an underlying structural cardiac abnormality, and regardless of the type of the underlying pathology (heart failure, dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarction and aging), death is almost always caused by ventricular tachycardia (VT) which rapidly degenerates to ventricular fibrillation (VF). Implantable cardioverter defibrillator is an effective but expensive therapy for preventing SCD, and finding a reasonably specific, sensitive and cost-effective risk stratification tool for patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death will have great clinical utility in preventing premature sudden cardiac death. Increased myocardial fibrosis has been shown to develop in a wide range of cardiac diseases all manifesting increased risk of VT and VF. Clinical and experimental studies attribute a major role for fibrosis in the initiation of VT, VF and sudden cardiac death. Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) has been shown to promote myocardial tissue fibrosis and perhaps more importantly in cardiac conditions associated with increased myocardial fibrosis are shown to be positively correlated with increased serum levels of TGF-beta1. In the present hypothesis we suggest that monitoring the serum levels of TGF-beta1 may be a cost-effective risk stratifier to identify patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death caused by VT and VF.

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