Tissue Doppler-Derived Left Ventricular Systolic Velocity Is Associated with Lethal Arrhythmias in Cardiac Device Recipients Irrespective of Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2020 Dec;33(12):1509-1516. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2020.08.013. Epub 2020 Oct 10.


Background: Life-threatening arrhythmias (LTAs) can trigger sudden cardiac death or provoke implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) discharges that escalate morbidity and mortality. Longitudinal myofibrils predominate in the subendocardium, which is uniquely sensitive to arrhythmogenic triggers. In this study, we test the hypothesis that mitral annular systolic velocity (S'), a simple routinely obtained tissue Doppler index of LV long-axis systolic function, might predict lethal arrhythmias irrespective of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of data from 302 patients (mean age, 68 years; LVEF, 32%; 77% male; 52% ischemic; 35% primary prevention; and 53% cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator [CRT-D]) who were followed up (median, 15 months) at two centers after receipt of an ICD or CRT-D for diverse indications. S', averaged from tissue Doppler-derived medial and lateral mitral annular velocities, was correlated with the primary outcome of time to sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or fibrillation (VF) needing device therapy.

Results: The median S' was 5.1 (interquartile range, 4.0-6.2) cm/sec and lower in CRT-D than ICD subjects (4.5 [3.8-5.6] cm/sec vs 5.5 [4.8-6.8] cm/sec, P < .001). Fifty-six (19%) subjects had LTA. Each 1 cm/sec higher S' correlated to a 30% decreased risk of LTA (hazard ratio = 0.70; 95% CI, 0.57-0.87; P = .001) independently of age, sex, β-blocker use, center, ICD use, and LVEF. Adding S' to the baseline Cox model improved net reclassification (P = .02). An S' > 5.6 cm/sec was the best cutoff and linked to a 58% lower LTA risk than an S' ≤ 5.6 cm/sec (95% CI, 0.23-0.85; P = .02).

Conclusions: A higher S' is associated with a reduced probability of LTA in cardiac device recipients irrespective of LVEF and may have the potential to be used clinically to titrate medical, device, and ablative therapies to mitigate future arrhythmic risk.

Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; Sudden cardiac death; Tissue Doppler imaging; Ventricular arrhythmia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left