Aims: The incidence of and factors associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD) early after an acute heart failure (HF) hospital admission have not been well defined.
Methods and results: We assessed SCD and ventricular arrhythmias in the Acute Study of Clinical Effectiveness of Nesiritide in Decompensated Heart Failure (ASCEND-HF) trial, which included patients with acute HF with reduced or preserved ejection fraction. SCD, resuscitated SCD (RSCD), and sustained ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation (VT/VF) were adjudicated from randomization through 30 days and were combined into a composite endpoint. Baseline characteristics associated with this composite were determined by logistic regression. RSCD and VT/VF were included as time-dependent variables in a Cox model evaluating the association of these variables with 180-day all-cause mortality. Among 7011 patients, the 30-day all-cause mortality rate was 3.8%; SCD accounted for 17% of these deaths. The 30-day composite event rate was 1.8% (n = 121). Ten patients had more than one event with 30-day Kaplan-Meier event rates of 0.6% for SCD [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5%-0.9%, n = 43], 0.4% for RSCD (95% CI 0.2%-0.5%, n = 24), and 0.9% for VT/VF (95% CI 0.7%-1.2%, n = 64). In the multivariable model, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, history of VT, male sex, and longer QRS duration were associated with SCD, RSCD, or VT/VF. A RSCD or VT/VF event was associated with higher 180-day mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 6.6, 95% CI 4.8-9.1, P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Approximately 2% of patients admitted for acute HF experienced SCD, RSCD, or VT/VF within 30 days of admission, and SCD accounted for 17% of all deaths within 30 days.
Keywords: Heart failure; Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular fibrillation; Ventricular tachycardia.
© 2017 The Authors. European Journal of Heart Failure © 2017 European Society of Cardiology.