Sudden death in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: old risk factors re-assessed in a new model of maximalized follow-up

Eur Heart J. 2010 Dec;31(24):3084-93. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq308. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Aims: in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the following five risk factors have a major role in the primary prevention of sudden death (SD): family history of SD (FHSD), syncope, massive wall thickness (MWTh) >30 mm, non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (nsVT) in Holter monitoring of electrocardiography, and abnormal blood pressure response to exercise (aBPRE). In HCM, as a genetic cardiac disease, the risk for SD may also exist from birth. The aim of the study was to compare the survival curves constructed for each of the five risk factors in a traditional follow-up model (started at the first presentation of a patient at the institution) and in a novel follow-up model (started at the date of birth). In an additional analysis, we compared the survival rate in three subgroups (without FHSD, with one SD, and with two or more SDs in a family).

Methods and results: a total of 1306 consecutive HCM patients (705 males, 601 females, mean age of 47 years, and 193 patients were <18 years) evaluated at 15 referral centres in Poland were enrolled in the study. In a novel method of follow-up, all the five risk factors confirmed its prognostic power (FHSD: P = 0.0007; nsVT: P < 0.0001; aBPRE: P = 0.0081; syncope: P < 0.0001; MWTh P> 0.0001), whereas in a traditional method, only four factors predicted SD (except aBPRE). In a novel model of follow-up, FHSD in a single episode starts to influence the prognosis with a delay to the fifth decade of life (P = 0.0007). Multiple FHSD appears to be a very powerful risk factor (P < 0.0001), predicting frequent SDs in childhood and adolescence.

Conclusion: the proposed concept of a lifelong calculated follow-up is a useful strategy in the risk stratification of SD. Multiple FHSD is a very ominous risk factor with strong impact, predicting frequent SD episodes in the early period of life.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / complications
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / mortality*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Syncope / mortality