Early repolarization syndrome: A cause of sudden cardiac death

World J Cardiol. 2015 Aug 26;7(8):466-75. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v7.i8.466.


Early repolarization syndrome (ERS), demonstrated as J-point elevation on an electrocardiograph, was formerly thought to be a benign entity, but the recent studies have demonstrated that it can be linked to a considerable risk of life - threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD). Early repolarization characteristics associated with SCD include high - amplitude J-point elevation, horizontal and/or downslopping ST segments, and inferior and/or lateral leads location. The prevalence of ERS varies between 3% and 24%, depending on age, sex and J-point elevation (0.05 mV vs 0.1 mV) being the main determinants. ERS patients are sporadic and they are at a higher risk of having recurrent cardiac events. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation and isoproterenol are the suggested therapies in this set of patients. On the other hand, asymptomatic patients with ERS are common and have a better prognosis. The risk stratification in asymptomatic patients with ERS still remains a grey area. This review provides an outline of the up-to-date evidence associated with ERS and the risk of life - threatening arrhythmias. Further prospective studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmogenesis in patients with ERS.

Keywords: Early repolarization; Early repolarization syndrome; J-wave; Sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Review