Electrophysiologic testing for risk stratification following myocardial infarction: dead or alive?
- David J Wilber
- Journal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Death due to ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VT) remains an important public health problem; patients with prior myocardial infarction (MI) constitute the largest identifiable population for prophylactic interventions. Targeting of progressively higher-risk subgroups of post-MI survivors carries inevitable tradeoffs with respect to the global impact of interventions on overall mortality. Therapy with aspirin, beta blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors comprise the benchmark against which all additional interventions, including implantable defibrillators, must be measured. Initial enthusiasm for empiric amiodarone therapy has been tempered by the limited benefit demonstrated in recent randomized trials. Trials of other class III antiarrhythmic drugs, including both d,l-sotalol and d-sotalol, have also failed to demonstrate survival benefit. The Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial (MADIT) demonstrated significantly improved survival associated with defibrillators in a small subgroup of post-MI survivors with a high short-term risk of death. The ultimate number and optimal criteria for selection of patients who may benefit from prophylactic defibrillator therapy after MI will undergo continued evolution as new data from current and ongoing trials become available.