Background: Sustained ventricular tachycardia (susVT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) are observed in adult patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). These dysrhythmias may be preceded by non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT). The aims of this study are to examine the 1] time course of ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VTA) in a large cohort of patients with various CHDs and 2] the development of susVT/VF after NSVT.
Methods: In this retrospective study, patients with VTA on ECG, 24-hour Holter or ICD-printout or an out-of-hospital-cardiac arrest due to VF were included. In patients with an ICD, the number of shocks was studied.
Results: Patients (N=145 patients, 59% male) initially presented with NSVT (N=103), susVT (N=25) or VF (N=17) at a mean age of 40 ± 14 years. Prior to VTA, 58 patients had intraventricular conduction delay, 14 an impaired ventricular dysfunction and 3 had coronary artery disease. susVT/VF rarely occurred in patients with NSVT (N=5). Fifty-two (36%) patients received an ICD; appropriate and inappropriate shocks, mainly due to supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), occurred in respectively 15 (29%) (NSVT: N=1, susVT: N=9, VF: N=5) and 12 (23%) (NSVT: N=4, susVT: N=5, VF: N=3) patients.
Conclusions: VTA in patients with CHD appear on average at the age of 40 years. susVT/VF rarely developed in patients with only NSVT, whereas recurrent episodes of susVT/VF frequently developed in patients initially presenting with susVT/VF. Hence, a wait-and-see treatment strategy in patients with NSVT and aggressive therapy of both episodes of VTA and SVT in patients with susVT/VF seems justified.
Keywords: Congenital heart defects; Implantable cardioverter defibrillator; Ventricular tachyarrhythmia.
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