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Study Examines Risk of Electrical Storm in ICD Patients

Electrical storms common, unpredictable and likely result in hospitalization

THURSDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Electrical storms affect about every fifth patient with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, and will likely result in hospitalization, according to an analysis of data from the SHock Inhibition Evaluation with AzimiLiDe (SHIELD) trial. The findings are published in the December issue of the European Heart Journal.

Stefan H. Hohnloser, M.D., of J.W. Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from the SHIELD trial to determine the incidence, features and clinical sequelae of electrical storm in patients with ICDs.

Approximately every fifth patient (23 percent) who underwent ICD placement for ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation (VT/VF) had an episode of electrical storm within one year. Moreover, there were no clinical predictors of electrical storm. Patients who experienced an electrical storm had more than triple the risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmias compared to their counterparts with isolated VT/VF, and more than a 10-fold increase compared with patients without any episodes of VT/VF. Azimilide did, however, reduce the risk of recurrent electrical storm compared with placebo.

"Electrical storm is common and unpredictable in ICD recipients and it is a strong predictor of hospitalization," the study authors conclude.

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