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Long-term prognosis of idiopathic ventricular fibrillation: An eighteen-year experience from a tertiary center.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is diagnosed in patients who survive sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), preferably with documented ventricular fibrillation (VF), without any identifiable structural or electrical abnormality. Current evidence provides limited guidance on the diagnosis and follow-up of these patients. Our aim was to assess the clinical outcomes of survivors of an aborted SCA attributed to IVF.

METHODS: We retrospectively collected clinical data from all patients who survived SCA and implanted a cardiac defibrillator (ICD) between 2005 and 2023.

RESULTS: A total of 38 patients, 36.8% female, with a mean age of 44±14 years old were included. Median follow-up time was 8.7 years (interquartile range (IQR) 4.7-14.7 years). All patients underwent a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that excluded structural and coronary disease. During follow-up, underlying diagnoses were established in 34.2% of the whole cohort. Genetic testing, performed in 37.2%, revealed underlying diagnoses in 57.1% of those tested, compared to only 26.3% of patients who did not undergo genetic testing [p=0.035, OR=5.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-21.5)]. Mortality was 10.5% (due to non-arrhythmic causes) and 36.8% patients received appropriate therapies with a median time to first ICD therapy of 39 [5.4-47.3] months.

CONCLUSION(S): Etiological diagnosis and recurrence prediction in patients with IVF remains challenging, even with extensive diagnostic evaluation and long-term follow-up. In our study, genetic testing enhanced diagnostic yield. Consistent with previous findings, our cohort experienced a notable arrhythmic recurrence, with no cardiac deaths, underlining the pivotal role of ICD implantation in these patients.

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