Prevalence of Arrhythmias During 24-Hour Electrocardiographic Monitoring Exercise Testing in Patients with Obstructive Nonobstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

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Many patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy die suddenly unexpectedly, a significant number perhaps due to arrhythmia. Of 100 patients initially evaluated for signs or symptoms suggestive of heart disease or a family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 51 were selected solely because they met the echocardiographic criteria for the disease, 49 patients were selected primarily because they had: 1) normal sinus rhythm despite left atrial enlargement, 2) a history of syncope, 3) a family history of premature death, or 4) a history of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. All 100 patients were studied by 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring 74 of them also underwent treadmill exercise testing. More than 50% of patients in all subgroups (with or without symptoms or left ventricular outflow tract obstruction) had multiform or repetitive ventricular premature depolarizations, including 19% who had ventricular tachycardia. Monitoring was superior to exercise testing for exposing these arrhythmias. Two patients experienced cardiac arrest within 2 months of monitoring; in each, monitoring had revealed ventricular tachycardia. Two patients with paroxysms of supraventricular tachycardia during monitoring developed fixed atrial fibrillation within 1 year. These preliminary observations suggest that monitoring may help identify patients at increased risk for significant arrhythmic event

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