Programmed Ventricular Stimulation for Risk Stratification in the Brugada Syndrome: A Pooled Analysis

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The role of programmed ventricular stimulation in identifying patients with Brugada syndrome at the highest risk for sudden death is uncertain.

Methods and Results—

We performed a systematic review and pooled analysis of prospective, observational studies of patients with Brugada syndrome without a history of sudden cardiac arrest who underwent programmed ventricular stimulation. We estimated incidence rates and relative hazards of cardiac arrest or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shock. We analyzed individual-level data from 8 studies comprising 1312 patients who experienced 65 cardiac events (median follow-up, 38.3 months). A total of 527 patients were induced into arrhythmias with up to triple extrastimuli. Induction was associated with cardiac events during follow-up (hazard ratio, 2.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.44–4.92, P<0.001), with the greatest risk observed among those induced with single or double extrastimuli. Annual event rates varied substantially by syncope history, presence of spontaneous type 1 ECG pattern, and arrhythmia induction. The lowest risk occurred in individuals without syncope and with drug-induced type 1 patterns (0.23%, 95% CI, 0.05–0.68 for no induced arrhythmia with up to double extrastimuli; 0.45%, 95% CI, 0.01–2.49 for induced arrhythmia), and the highest risk occurred in individuals with syncope and spontaneous type 1 patterns (2.55%, 95% CI, 1.58–3.89 for no induced arrhythmia; 5.60%, 95% CI, 2.98–9.58 for induced arrhythmia).


In patients with Brugada syndrome, arrhythmias induced with programmed ventricular stimulation are associated with future ventricular arrhythmia risk. Induction with fewer extrastimuli is associated with higher risk. However, clinical risk factors are important determinants of arrhythmia risk, and lack of induction does not necessarily portend low ventricular arrhythmia risk, particularly in patients with high-risk clinical features.

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