Objectives: We sought to identify patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) at high risk of sudden death (SD).
Background: Relatively low mortality rates in HCM make conventional analysis of multiple clinical risk markers for SD problematic. This study used a referral center registry to investigate a smaller number of generally accepted noninvasive risk markers.
Methods: We studied 368 patients (14 to 65 years old, 239 males) with HCM. There were five variables: nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT), syncope, exercise blood pressure response (BPR), family history of sudden death (FHSD) and left ventricular wall thickness (LVWT).
Results: During follow-up (3.6+/-2.5 years [range 2 days to 9.6 years]), 36 patients (9.8%) died, 22 of them suddenly. Two patients received heart transplants. The six-year SD-free survival rate was 91% (95% confidence interval [CI] 87% to 95%). In the Cox model, there was a significant pairwise interaction between FHSD and syncope (p = 0.01), and these were subsequently considered together. The multivariate SD risk ratios (with 95% CIs) were 1.8 for BPR (0.7 to 4.4) (p = 0.22); 5.3 for FHSD and syncope (1.9 to 14.9) (p = 0.002); 1.9 for NSVT (0.7 to 5.0) (p = 0.18) and 2.9 for LVWT (1.1 to 7.1) (p = 0.03). Patients with no risk factors (n = 203) had an estimated six-year SD-free survival rate of 95% (95% CI 91% to 99%). The corresponding six-year estimates (with 95% CIs) for one (n = 122), two (n = 36) and three (n = 7) risk factors were 93% (87% to 99%), 82% (67% to 96%) and 36% (0% to 75%), respectively. Patients with two or more risk factors had a lower six-year SD survival rate (95% CI) compared with patients with one or no risk factors (72% [56% to 88%] vs. 94% [91% to 98%]) (p = 0.0001).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that patients with multiple risk factors have a substantially increased risk of SD sufficient to warrant consideration for prophylactic therapy.