JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Long-term arrhythmic outcome in survivors of ventricular fibrillation with absence of inducible ventricular tachycardia.

While programmed electrical stimulation of the heart is useful in directing therapy in cardiac arrest survivors who exhibit inducible ventricular tachycardia (VT), controversy exists as to the risk of recurrent ventricular fibrillation (VF) and need for antiarrhythmic therapy in patients without inducible VT during drug-free control programmed stimulation studies. In this study, the clinical features and arrhythmic outcome of 43 survivors of VF without inducible VT at control programmed stimulation were examined. In 38 patients, factors that may have played a potentiating role in the genesis of VF included ischemia in 15, proarrhythmia in 18, rapid rate response to atrial fibrillation in 3 and acute alcoholism in 2. Three patients required antiarrhythmic drugs for supraventricular tachyarrhythmia and 40 patients were discharged without antiarrhythmic therapy. At 32 +/- 21 months (range 1 to 82), 37 (92%) have remained free of arrhythmic recurrence while 3 have had sustained subsequent major arrhythmic events (syncope 1 patient, VF 1, sudden cardiac death 1). Thus, survivors of VF without inducible VT at drug-free control programmed stimulation are characterized by (1) potentiating factors--often identifiable and correctable--that may be important to the genesis of VF; (2) generally low risk of arrhythmic recurrence; and (3) effective long-term management often achieved without the use of additional antiarrhythmic drugs or antitachycardia/defibrillation devices.

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