JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Improving the appropriateness of sudden arrhythmic death primary prevention by implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy in patients with low left ventricular ejection fraction. Point of view

Marcello Disertori, Michele M Gulizia, Giancarlo Casolo, Pietro Delise, Andrea Di Lenarda, Giuseppe Di Tano, Maurizio Lunati, Luisa Mestroni, Jorge Salerno-Uriarte, Luigi Tavazzi
Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 2016, 17 (4): 245-55
26895401
It is generally accepted that the current guidelines for the primary prevention of sudden arrhythmic death, which are based on ejection fraction, do not allow the optimal selection of patients with low left ventricular ejection fraction of ischemic and nonischemic etiology for implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator. Ejection fraction alone is limited in both sensitivity and specificity. An analysis of the risk of sudden arrhythmic death with a combination of multiple tests (ejection fraction associated with one or more arrhythmic risk markers) could partially compensate for these limitations. We propose a polyparametric approach for defining the risk of sudden arrhythmic death using ejection fraction in combination with other clinical and arrhythmic risk markers (i.e. late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance, T-wave alternans, programmed ventricular stimulation, autonomic tone, and genetic testing) that have been validated in nonrandomized trials. In this article, we examine these approaches to identify three subsets of patients who cannot be comprehensively assessed by the current guidelines: patients with ejection fraction of 35% or less and a relatively low risk of sudden arrhythmic death despite the ejection fraction value; patients with ejection fraction of 35% or less and high competitive risk of death due to evolution of heart failure or noncardiac causes; and patients with ejection fraction between 35 and 45% with relatively high risk of sudden arrhythmic death despite the ejection fraction value.

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