Value of Microvolt T-Wave Alternans for Predicting Patients Who Would Benefit from Implantable Cardioverter–Defibrillator Therapy

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Despite considerable progress in the management of coronary artery disease and dilated cardiomyopathy, a substantial proportion of patients remains at the risk of life-threatening arrhythmic events. The Multicenter Automatic Defibrillator Implantation II and Sudden Cardiac Death Heart Failure studies have conclusively demonstrated that prophylactic implantable cardioverter–defibrillator (ICD) therapy reduces mortality among subjects with ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy but at the expense of potentially unnecessary ICD implantation in a large percentage of patients. Microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA), with a negative predictive value greater than 90%, holds promise for selecting the patients who would likely and patients not likely to benefit from ICD implantation. Accurate identification of high-risk patients by noninvasive MTWA may allow for improved widespread screening for sudden death prevention in the general population.

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