Non-arrhythmic causes of sudden death: A comprehensive review

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2019 May-Jun;62(3):265-271. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2019.05.004. Epub 2019 May 8.


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major public health issue in the United States and worldwide. It is estimated to affect between 1 and 1.5 million patients worldwide annually, with the global burden expected to rise due to the concomitant rise in coronary artery disease in the developing world. Although arrhythmic causes of SCD such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are common and well-studied, non-arrhythmic causes are also important, with diverse etiologies from ischemia-related structural heart disease to non-ischemic heart diseases, non-atherosclerotic coronary pathologies, and inflammatory states. Recent research has also found that risk factors and/or demographics predispose certain individuals to a higher risk of non-arrhythmia-related SCD. This review discusses the epidemiology, mechanisms, etiologies, and management of non-arrhythmic SCD.

Keywords: Coronary artery disease; Nonarrhythmic; Sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Aneurysm / complications
  • Coronary Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / complications*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed