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Previous studies have demonstrated that microvolt T-wave alternans (TWA) screening in patients with ischaemic and dilated cardiomyopathy is effective in identifying patients at high or low risk of sudden cardiac death. It remains unclear which percentage of potential recipients of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) are able to perform TWA testing using an exercise protocol which is, at this moment, the golden standard. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of TWA in the risk stratification of potential ICD recipients with ischaemic or dilated cardiomyopathy.
Medical charts of 165 primary prevention ICD recipients were reviewed to decide if patients were able to perform a TWA exercise test or not. Reasons to waiver a test were: atrial fibrillation or flutter, pacemaker dependency, recent (cardiovascular) surgery (<1 month) and inability to exercise. Of the potential ICD recipients 35% had one or more of these contraindications and were therefore not suitable for testing.
In several studies, TWA is a promising risk stratifier for predicting sudden cardiac death; however, in our population, 35% of the potential ICD candidates could not be tested. In order to fulfil its promise as a predictor for SCD, an alternative means to measure TWA needs to be evaluated.
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