Prevalence and Characteristics of Early Repolarization in the CASPER Registry
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OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the prevalence and characteristics of early repolarization in patients in CASPER (Cardiac Arrest Survivors With Preserved Ejection Fraction Registry). BACKGROUND: Early repolarization has been implicated in a syndrome of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation in patients without organic heart disease. METHODS: One hundred patients with apparently unexplained cardiac arrest and preserved ejection fraction underwent extensive clinical and genetic testing to unmask subclinical electrical or structural disease. A blinded independent analysis of the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) was performed. Early repolarization was defined as ≥0.1 mV QRS-ST junction (J-point) elevation with terminal QRS slurring or notching in at least 2 contiguous inferior and/or lateral leads. RESULTS: One hundred cardiac arrest patients were enrolled (40 females, age 43 ± 14 years). Forty-four were diagnosed with an established cause for cardiac arrest. Significant early repolarization was found in 19 patients, including 6 with a primary diagnosis that explained their cardiac arrest (14%), compared with 23% of the 56 patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) (p = 0.23). J-point elevation in IVF patients had higher amplitude (0.25 ± 0.11 mV vs. 0.13 ± 0.05 mV, p = 0.02) and wider distribution (4.3 ± 1.3 leads vs. 2.8 ± 0.8 leads; p = 0.01) than those with an established cause of cardiac arrest. J-wave amplitude was fluctuant on serial ECGs; at least 1 ECG failed to demonstrate early repolarization in 58% of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Early repolarization is present in a significant proportion of causally diagnosed and idiopathic VF. It is often intermittent and more pronounced in IVF patients. (Registry of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest; NCT00292032).
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