Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) episodes during Holter monitoring and to determine their relationship to age and prognosis.
Background: It has been suggested that NSVT is only of prognostic importance in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) when repetitive, prolonged, or associated with symptoms.
Methods: We studied 531 patients with HCM (323 male, 39 +/- 15 years). All underwent ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring (41 +/- 11 h).
Results: A total of 104 patients (19.6%) had NSVT. The proportion of patients with NSVT increased with age (p = 0.008). Maximum left ventricular wall thickness and left atrial size were greater in patients with NSVT. Mean follow-up was 70 +/- 40 months. Sixty-eight patients died, 32 from sudden cardiac death (SCD). Twenty-one patients received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). There were four appropriate ICD discharges. In patients < or =30 years (but not >30), five-year freedom from sudden death was lower in those with NSVT (77.6% [95% confidence interval (CI): 59.8 to 95.4] vs. 94.1% [95% CI: 90.2 to 98.0]; p = 0.003). There was no relation between the duration, frequency, or rate of NSVT runs and prognosis at any age. The odds ratio of sudden death in patients < or =30 years of age with NSVT was 4.35 (95% CI: 1.54 to 12.28; p = 0.006) compared with 2.16 (95% CI: 0.82 to 5.69; p = 0.1) in patients >30 years of age.
Conclusions: Non-sustained ventricular tachycardia is associated with a substantial increase in sudden death risk in young patients with HCM. A relation between the frequency, duration, and rate of NSVT episodes could not be demonstrated.