Prevalence and characteristics of early repolarization in the CASPER registry: cardiac arrest survivors with preserved ejection fraction registry

Nicolas Derval, Christopher S Simpson, David H Birnie, Jeffrey S Healey, Vijay Chauhan, Jean Champagne, Martin Gardner, Shubhayan Sanatani, Raymond Yee, Allan C Skanes, Lorne J Gula, Peter Leong-Sit, Kamran Ahmad, Michael H Gollob, Michel Haïssaguerre, George J Klein, Andrew D Krahn
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2011 August 9, 58 (7): 722-8

OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the prevalence and characteristics of early repolarization in patients in CASPER (Cardiac Arrest Survivors With Preserved Ejection Fraction Registry).

BACKGROUND: Early repolarization has been implicated in a syndrome of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation in patients without organic heart disease.

METHODS: One hundred patients with apparently unexplained cardiac arrest and preserved ejection fraction underwent extensive clinical and genetic testing to unmask subclinical electrical or structural disease. A blinded independent analysis of the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) was performed. Early repolarization was defined as ≥0.1 mV QRS-ST junction (J-point) elevation with terminal QRS slurring or notching in at least 2 contiguous inferior and/or lateral leads.

RESULTS: One hundred cardiac arrest patients were enrolled (40 females, age 43 ± 14 years). Forty-four were diagnosed with an established cause for cardiac arrest. Significant early repolarization was found in 19 patients, including 6 with a primary diagnosis that explained their cardiac arrest (14%), compared with 23% of the 56 patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) (p = 0.23). J-point elevation in IVF patients had higher amplitude (0.25 ± 0.11 mV vs. 0.13 ± 0.05 mV, p = 0.02) and wider distribution (4.3 ± 1.3 leads vs. 2.8 ± 0.8 leads; p = 0.01) than those with an established cause of cardiac arrest. J-wave amplitude was fluctuant on serial ECGs; at least 1 ECG failed to demonstrate early repolarization in 58% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Early repolarization is present in a significant proportion of causally diagnosed and idiopathic VF. It is often intermittent and more pronounced in IVF patients. (Registry of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest; NCT00292032).

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