Sustained Ventricular Tachycardia and Ventricular Fibrillation Complicating Non-ST-Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes
Background—Ventricular arrhythmias remain a lethal complication of acute coronary syndromes (ACS). However, the incidence and prognosis of sustained ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation (VT/VF) in contemporary non-ST-segment elevation (NSTE) ACS populations are not well described.
Methods and Results—We examined the incidence of VT/VF and subsequent survival among 9211 patients enrolled in the Early Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibition in NSTE ACS (EARLY ACS) trial. The cumulative incidence of VT/VF was 1.5% (n=141); 0.6% (n=55) had VT/VF ≤48 hours after enrollment, and 0.9% (n=86) had VT/VF >48 hours after enrollment. Patients with VT/VF more frequently had prior heart failure, an ejection fraction <30%, and triple-vessel coronary artery disease. Predictors of sustained VT/VF were similar regardless of the timing of VT/VF (≤48 vs. >48 hours). Patients with VT/VF ≤48 hours after enrollment had higher 30-day mortality than those who did not have VT/VF ≤48 hours (13.0 vs. 2.2%; adjusted OR 6.73 [95% CI 2.68-16.9]). The increased risk of death associated with VT/VF ≤48 hours persisted at 1 year. The risk of mortality, relative to patients without VT/VF, was greater for patients with VT/VF >48 hours (HR=20.70 [95% CI 15.39-27.85]) than for those with those with earlier VT/VF (HR=7.45 [95% CI 4.60-12.08]); P=0.0003. The frequency of arrhythmic death was higher in patients with VT/VF than those without VT/VF (26.4 vs. 6.9%).
Conclusions—Sustained VT/VF is infrequent after NSTE ACS but is equally likely to occur after 48 hours as within the first 48 hours. The marked increase in all-cause death among NSTE ACS patients with both early and late sustained VT/VF raises important considerations for aggressive monitoring beyond 48 hours and interventions to prevent arrhythmic death in these patients.
Clinical Trial Registration Information—clinicaltrials.gov; Identifier: NCT00089895.
- Received October 6, 2011.
- Accepted April 30, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited