VV' alternans triplets on near-field ICD intracardiac electrogram is associated with mortality

Mathias Baumert, Muammar M. Kabir, Khidir Dalouk, Charles A. Henrikson, Larisa G. Tereshchenko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Background In heart failure patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) the risk of death from causes other than tachyarrhythmia is substantial. Benefit from ICD is determined by two competing risks: appropriate ICD shock or nonarrhythmic death. The goal of the study was to test predictors of competing outcomes. Methods Patients with structural heart disease (N = 234, mean age 58.5 ± 15.1; 71% men, 80% whites, 61% ischemic cardiomyopathy) and primary (75%) or secondary prevention ICD underwent a 5-minute baseline near-field electrogram (NF EGM) recording. VV' alternans triplets were quantified as a percentage of three sinus VV' cycles sequences of "short-long-short" or "long-short-long" order. Appropriate ICD shock for fast ventricular tachycardia (FVT, cycle length ≤240 ms)/ventricular fibrillation (VF) and composite nonarrhythmic death (pump failure death or heart transplant) served as competing outcomes. Results Over a median follow-up of 2.4 years, 26 patients (4.6% per person-year of follow-up) developed FVT/VF with ICD shock, and 35 (6.3% per person-year of follow-up) had nonarrhythmic death. In competing risk analysis, after adjustment for demographics, left ventricular ejection fraction, New York Heart Association class, cardiomyopathy type, use of class I antiarrhythmics, and diabetes, increased percentage of VV' alternans triplets (>69%) was associated with nonarrhythmic death (subhazard ratio [SHR] 2.09; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-4.23; P = 0.041), rather than with FVT/VF (SHR 1.05; 95% CI 0.45-2.46; P = 0.901). Risk of nonarrhythmic death was especially high in diabetics with VV' alternans triplets in the highest quartile (SHR 3.46; 95% CI 1.41-8.50; P = 0.007). Conclusion In ICD patients with structural heart disease sinus VV' alternans triplets on NF EGM is independently associated with nonarrhythmic death, rather than with FVT/VF.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)547-557
    Number of pages11
    JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 1 2015


    • competing risk
    • implantable cardioverter defibrillator
    • mortality
    • ventricular arrhythmia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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