Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to idiopathic ventricular fibrillation in patients with normal electrocardiograms: results from a multicentre long-term registry

Giulio Conte, Bernard Belhassen, Pier Lambiase, Giuseppe Ciconte, Carlo de Asmundis, Elena Arbelo, Beat Schaer, Antonio Frontera, Haran Burri, Leonardo Calo', Kostantinos P. Letsas, Francisco Leyva, Bradley Porter, Johan Saenen, Valerio Zacà, Paola Berne, Peter Ammann, Marco Zardini, Blerim Luani, Roberto RordorfGeorgia Sarquella Brugada, Argelia Medeiros-Domingo, Johann Christoph Geller, Tom de Potter, Mathis K. Stokke, Manlio F. Márquez, Yoav Michowitz, Shohreh Honarbakhsh, Manuel Conti, Christian Sticherling, Annamaria Martino, Abbasin Zegard, Tardu Özkartal, Maria Luce Caputo, François Regoli, Rüdiger C. Braun-Dullaeus, Francesca Notarangelo, Tiziano Moccetti, Gavino Casu, Christopher A. Rinaldi, Moises Levinstein, Kristina H. Haugaa, Nicolas Derval, Catherine Klersy, Moreno Curti, Carlo Pappone, Hein Heidbuchel, Josép Brugada, Michel Haïssaguerre, Pedro Brugada, Angelo Auricchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS : To define the clinical characteristics and long-term clinical outcomes of a large cohort of patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) and normal 12-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs). METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with ventricular fibrillation as the presenting rhythm, normal baseline, and follow-up ECGs with no signs of cardiac channelopathy including early repolarization or atrioventricular conduction abnormalities, and without structural heart disease were included in a registry. A total of 245 patients (median age: 38 years; males 59%) were recruited from 25 centres. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) was implanted in 226 patients (92%), while 18 patients (8%) were treated with drug therapy only. Over a median follow-up of 63 months (interquartile range: 25-110 months), 12 patients died (5%); in four of them (1.6%) the lethal event was of cardiac origin. Patients treated with antiarrhythmic drugs only had a higher rate of cardiovascular death compared to patients who received an ICD (16% vs. 0.4%, P = 0.001). Fifty-two patients (21%) experienced an arrhythmic recurrence. Age ≤16 years at the time of the first ventricular arrhythmia was the only predictor of arrhythmic recurrence on multivariable analysis [hazard ratio (HR) 0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18-0.92; P = 0.03]. CONCLUSION : Patients with IVF and persistently normal ECGs frequently have arrhythmic recurrences, but a good prognosis when treated with an ICD. Children are a category of IVF patients at higher risk of arrhythmic recurrences.

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com


  • Electrocardiography
  • Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • Quinidine
  • Sudden cardiac death


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