Sudden Cardiac Death: Prognosis of Long-term Antiarrhythmic Therapy
According to cause-of-death statistics in the Federal Republic of Germany for the year 1979, the percentage of deaths due to cardiovascular disease has risen from 39% to 49% over the past 20 years. This rise in cardiovascular mortality is attributed to an increase in ischémic heart disease from 22% to 35% during the same period (Cause-of-Death Statistics, 1981). Studies by Lovegrove and Thompson (1978) have shown that approximately 71% of these persons die within 30 minutes after the onset of symptoms, i.e., have what is termed a “sudden death.” In 87% of persons who died within 1 h, evidence pointed to a cardiac arrhythmia as the immediate cause of death (Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study Research Group, 1980). Death in such cases is due to a potentially treatable electrical instability of the heart, rather than to a terminal stage of organic failure. Much research, therefore, has been directed toward the recognition of patient groups that are at risk of sudden cardiac death, as well as toward the development of treatment regimes aimed at preventing such deaths.
KeywordsPlacebo Aspirin Cardiol Hunt Propranolol
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