JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Risk factor profiles of patients with sudden cardiac death and death from other cardiac causes: a report from the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS).

Identification of patients at risk of sudden death is essential if optimal preventive treatment strategies are to be developed. In the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) Registry, 19,946 patients were analyzed to characterize baseline clinical, hemodynamic and angiographic features of patients dying from sudden cardiac death and to compare them with features of patients dying from other cardiac causes, of those dying from noncardiac causes and of survivors. Of the 11,843 medically treated patients, 1,621 died during a mean follow-up period of 5.0 years: death was sudden in 557 (34%), nonsudden but cardiac in 813 (50%) and noncardiac in 251 (16%). In 8,103 surgically treated patients, 824 deaths occurred during a mean follow-up period of 5.1 years: death was sudden in 204 (25%), nonsudden but cardiac in 390 (47%) and noncardiac in 230 (28%). In general, the patients (both medically and surgically treated) who died of cardiac causes, either suddenly or nonsuddenly, were similar to each other but significantly different from patients who either survived or died of noncardiac causes. Although patients with an increased risk of any type of cardiac death could be identified, there were no measures of angiographic or hemodynamic characteristics that were significantly different between patients with sudden cardiac death and those with nonsudden cardiac death. Identification of patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death will require approaches in addition to clinical, angiographic and hemodynamic assessment, such as electrophysiologic assessment or monitoring techniques to identify triggering mechanisms.

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