Risk stratification and prediction of sudden death following myocardial infarction

  • A. W. M. Turner
  • M. Malik


Accurate and reliable identification of those survivors of acute myocardial infarction who are at high risk of sudden death remain an important and challenging problem. This review summarises the current state-of-the-art of the risk stratification techniques and lists achievements in this field.

The review comments in detail on individual factors used in risk stratification. Residual ischemia may be considered as one of the main triggering factors of post-infarction arrhythmia. Depressed left ventricular ejection fraction indicates deterioration of ventricular function. Electrical instability of the myocardium reflects the potential substrate of arrhythmia. Frequent ventricular ectopic activity provides triggers of ventricular tachycardia and/or fibrillation when acting on a suitable substrate. Impaired autonomic status of the heart may lead to the loss of vagal antiarrhythmic protection.

Further, the tests used for risk stratification are discussed. Ventriculography provides estimates of left ventricular ejection fraction. Holter monitoring is used for the assessment of ventricular ectopic activity and heart rate variability. Exercise testing is used to address residual ischemia. Programmed ventricular stimulation and the analysis of signal averaged electrocardiograms estimate electrical instability of the myocardium. Baroreflex sensitivity is a measure of cardiac parasympathetic reflexes.

The design and results of different experimental and clinical studies which utilised these tests are also discussed.


Heart Rate Variability Acute Myocardial Infarction Sudden Death Ventricular Tachycardia Risk Stratification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Darmstadt 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. W. M. Turner
    • 1
  • M. Malik
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cardiological SciencesSt Georges’ Hospital Medical SchoolLondonEngland
  2. 2.Department of Cardiological SciencesSt Georges’ Hospital Medical SchoolLondonEngland

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