Sudden cardiac death and obesity

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2014 Sep;12(9):1099-110. doi: 10.1586/14779072.2014.952283.


For individuals and the society as a whole, the increased risk of sudden cardiac death in obese patients is becoming a major challenge, especially since obesity prevalence has been increasing steadily around the globe. Traditional risk factors and obesity often coexist. Hypertension, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome are well-known risk factors for CV disease and are often present in the obese patient. Although the bulk of evidence is circumstantial, sudden cardiac death and obesity share common traditional CV risk factors. Structural, functional and metabolic factors modulate and influence the risk of sudden cardiac death in the obese population. Other risk factors such as left ventricular hypertrophy, increased number of premature ventricular complexes, altered QT interval and reduced heart rate variability are all documented in both obese and sudden cardiac death populations. The present review focuses on out-of-hospital sudden cardiac death and potential mechanisms leading to sudden cardiac death in this population.

Keywords: KATP channel; QT interval; RAAS; autonomic nervous system; obesity; sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors