A new noninvasive index to predict sustained ventricular tachycardia and sudden death in the first year after myocardial infarction: based on signal-averaged electrocardiogram, radionuclide ejection fraction and Holter monitoring

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1987 Aug;10(2):349-57. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(87)80018-9.


A prospective study of the prognostic significance of the signal-averaged electrocardiogram (ECG), left ventricular function and 24 hour Holter ECG monitoring was performed in 102 patients (age 63 +/- 11 years) after myocardial infarction. The signal-averaged ECG (40 Hz high pass bidirectional filtering) was obtained 10 +/- 6 days after the acute myocardial infarction and all three tests were performed within 72 hours of each other. Ejection fraction was determined by radionuclide ventriculography. An abnormal signal-averaged ECG was seen in 44% of patients; abnormal ejection fraction (less than 40%) in 52% and high grade ectopic activity (greater than or equal to 10 ventricular premature depolarizations/h or couplets, or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, or a combination of these) in 62%. During a 12 +/- 6 month follow-up period, 15 patients (14.7%) had an arrhythmic event defined as sustained ventricular tachycardia or sudden cardiac death, or both. The event rates were higher in patients with an abnormal versus a normal signal-averaged ECG (29 versus 3.5%, p = 0.003), an abnormal versus a normal ejection fraction (24 versus 6%, p = 0.001) and the presence versus the absence of high grade ectopic activity (23 versus 9%, p = 0.09). Patients with an abnormal signal-averaged ECG and an abnormal ejection fraction had a significantly higher (p = 0.0007) event rate than did patients in whom both the tests were normal (36 versus 0%; odds ratio 30.1).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Stroke Volume
  • Tachycardia / etiology*
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology