Prediction of sudden cardiac arrest: risk stratification by anatomic substrate
The prognostic importance of coronary artery anatomy to specific outcomes including ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation was evaluated in 372 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac catheterization at University Hospital at Stony Brook between 1981 and 1984. The hypothesis that proximal left anterior descending artery narrowing before the first septal perforator had a specific relationship to survival was again tested in this cohort. The population was prospectively followed for 8 years, with all clinical management decisions made independently by the patient's primary or referring physician. Multivariate statistical and life table analyses were performed after comprehensive follow-up. Significant narrowing in the proximal left anterior descending artery was associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (p = 0.0002). Abnormalities of contractility in the diaphragmatic segment of the left ventricle in addition to an elevation of the left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and the presence of congestive heart failure (p < 0.05) were other contributory variables. Outcome in patients with proximal left anterior descending coronary artery disease who underwent aortocoronary artery bypass to the artery demonstrated improved survival (p < 0.05). Risk stratification of patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death is possible and may allow identification for an aggressive approach or interventional trials.