|Skip left side navigation and go to content||
Prediction and Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in partnership with the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), convened a Workshop of experts in cardiac electrophysiology on September 29-30, 2009 at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the HRS. The purpose of this Workshop was to explore emerging approaches for improved prediction and prevention of sudden cardiac death. These approaches include novel non-invasive imaging modalities, strategies that emerge from mining data from existing large clinical studies and ICD cohorts, and those from fundamental science studies of arrhythmia mechanisms. The purpose was to provide recommendations for the NHLBI and the scientific community for future research approaches to improve prediction and prevention of sudden cardiac death. This Workshop is responsive to NHLBI Strategic Plan Goals 1 & 2 and the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases Strategic Plan Goal 2.3.a.
Although the death rate for cardiovascular diseases has declined steadily since 1968, the abrupt and frequently fatal nature of arrhythmic cardiovascular collapse and its ability to strike seemingly healthy, active individuals makes this syndrome of “sudden cardiac death” (SCD) one of great interest to the public’s health and an area of research need. Even the ability to estimate the number of patients affected--with an annual U.S. estimate of 180,000-450,000 cases—is hampered by lack of uniform definitions across studies and the difficulty of making a correct post-mortem classification.
Prevention of SCD is hindered by multiple factors. Foremost is the inability to identify predictive factors for the majority of patients at risk, many of whom have no prior evidence of cardiac disease. Second, even in higher risk patients, anti-arrhythmic strategies have largely been ineffective. Finally, guidelines for palliative therapies, such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), are often not followed in part because physicians recognize that the majority of patients who receive these expensive invasive therapies never have cause to use them.
The Workshop therefore convened experts in fundamental, clinical, and population-based electrophysiology research to provide recommendations for research goals that would help overcome these obstacles to prevention of SCD.
Recommendations (not prioritized):
The Workshop report is planned for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
Alice Mascette, M.D.
David Lathrop, Ph.D.
Zhi-Jie Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.
Working Group Members:
Last updated: November 4, 2009