Frequency of spontaneous ventricular tachycardia in a pediatric population

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Mar 15;101(6):852-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.10.047. Epub 2008 Jan 18.


Few data exist on the incidence of spontaneously occurring ventricular tachycardia (VT) in an unselected pediatric population. The aim of this study was to define the incidence and outcomes of VT in a general pediatric population. A retrospective analysis was performed of all documented episodes of VT in children referred to a single center during a 10-year study period ending in December 2005. The study center drains a stable referral area with 252,000 children aged <16 years, with no other pediatric cardiologic or pediatric intensive care services available. Twenty-seven patients with spontaneously occurring episodes of VT were observed, accounting for a VT incidence of 1.1 episodes/100,000 childhood years. Thirteen patients had VT in the absence of structural heart disease, and 14 had VT in the presence of a wide range of underlying cardiac disease. Overall mortality was 5 of 27 patients (19%), but mortality was seen exclusively in patients with underlying heart disease; for this subgroup of patients, mortality was 36%. Idiopathic VT in children with structurally normal hearts carried a good prognosis, and treatment was required in a minority (20%) of these patients. In conclusion, this study highlights that VT in childhood is rare, and outcomes are highly dependent on the underlying pathologic substrate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors