Background: The prognosis of patients with sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias varies according to clinical characteristics. We sought to identify predictors of survival in a large population of patients with documented sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias not related to reversible or correctable causes included in the Antiarrhythmics Versus Implantable Defibrillators (AVID) Registry.
Methods and results: We analyzed the impact of 36 demographic, clinical, and discharge treatment variables on the outcome for 3559 patients. Survival status was assessed with the use of the National Death Index. Multivariate analyses were performed with the use of the Cox proportional hazards model. After a mean follow-up of 17 +/- 12 months, 631 patients died. Actuarial survival was 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.85 to 0.88), 0.79 (95% CI 0.78 to 0.81), and 0.72 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.74) at 1, 2, and 3 years. Multivariate predictors of worse survival included older age, severe left ventricular dysfunction, lower systolic blood pressure, history of congestive heart failure, diabetes, smoking or atrial fibrillation, and preexistent pacemaker. The hemodynamic impact of the qualifying arrhythmia was not a predictor of outcome. Defibrillator implantation and hospital discharge while the patient was taking a beta-blocker or an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor were associated with better prognosis.
Conclusions: Despite therapeutic advances, the mortality rates of patients with sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias remain high. Prognosis depends on the severity of underlying heart disease, as reflected by the extent of left ventricular dysfunction and the presence of heart failure. Well-tolerated ventricular tachycardia in patients with structural heart disease does not carry a significantly better prognosis than ventricular tachyarrhythmia with more severe hemodynamic consequences.