Procainamide infusion in the evaluation of unexplained cardiac arrest: from the Cardiac Arrest Survivors with Preserved Ejection Fraction Registry (CASPER).
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BACKGROUND: Provocative testing with sodium channel blockers is advocated for the evaluation of unexplained cardiac arrest (UCA) with the primary purpose of unmasking the typical ECG features of Brugada syndrome. The Cardiac Arrest Survivors with Preserved Ejection Fraction Registry (CASPER) systematically assesses subjects with UCA or a family history of sudden death (FHSD). OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical yield of procainamide infusion in a national registry of subjects with either UCA or a FHSD. METHODS: Subjects with either UCA or a FHSD without evidence of a Brugada pattern at baseline underwent procainamide testing (15 mg/kg to a maximum of 1 g at 50 mg/min). A test was considered positive for Brugada pattern if there was an increase in ST elevation >1 mm or if there was >1 mm of new ST elevation in leads V1 and/or V2. Genetic testing was performed on the basis of phenotype detection. RESULTS: Procainamide testing was performed in 174 subjects (age 46.8 ± 15.4 years, 47% female). Testing provoked a Brugada pattern in 12 subjects (6.9%), 5 of whom had no ST abnormalities at baseline. No subjects with a negative procainamide challenge were subsequently diagnosed with Brugada syndrome. Genetic testing was conducted in 10 of the 12 subjects with a provoked Brugada pattern and was positive for a mutation in the SCN5A gene in 1. CONCLUSION: Irrespective of the baseline ECG, procainamide testing provoked a Brugada pattern in a significant proportion of subjects with UCA or a FHSD, thereby facilitating a diagnosis of Brugada syndrome, and is recommended in the workup of UCA.
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