Patients with the Brugada type 1 ECG (Br type 1) without previous aborted sudden death (aSD) who do not have a prophylactic ICD constitute a very large population whose outcome is little known. The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of SD or aborted SD (aSD) in these patients.
Methods and results
We conducted a meta-analysis and cumulative analysis of seven large prospective studies involving 1568 patients who had not received a prophylactic ICD in primary prevention. Patients proved to be heterogeneous. Many were theoretically at low risk, in that they had a drug-induced Br type 1 (48%) and/or were asymptomatic (87%), Others, in contrast, had one or more risk factors. During a mean/median follow-up ranging from 30 to 48 months, 23 patients suffered SD and 1 had aSD. The annual incidence of SD/aSD was 0.5% in the total population, 0.9% in patients with spontaneous Br type 1 and 0.08% in those with drug-induced Br type 1 (P = 0.0001). The paper by Brugada et al. reported an incidence of SD more than six times higher than the other studies, probably as a result of selection bias. On excluding this paper, the annual incidence of SD/aSD in the remaining 1198 patients fell to 0.22% in the total population and to 0.38 and 0.06% in spontaneous and drug-induced Br type 1, respectively. Of the 24 patients with SD/aSD, 96% were males, the mean age was 39 ± 15 years, 92% had spontaneous Br type 1, 61% had familial SD (f-SD), and only 18.2% had a previous syncope; 43% had a positive electrophysiological study. Multiple meta-analysis of individual trials showed that spontaneous Br type 1, f-SD, and previous syncope increased the risk of SD/aSD (RR 2.83, 2.49, and 3.03, respectively). However, each of these three risk factors had a very low positive predictive value (PPV) (1.9–3.3%), while negative predictive values (NPV) were high (98.5–99.7%). The incidence of SD/aSD was only slightly higher in patients with syncope than in asymptomatic patients (2% vs. 1.5%, P = 0.6124). Patients with SD/aSD when compared with the others had a mean of 1.74 vs. 0.95 risk factors (P = 0.026).
(i) In patients with Br type 1 ECG without an ICD in primary prevention, the risk of SD/aSD is low, particularly in those with drug-induced Br type 1; (ii) spontaneous Br type 1, f-SD, and syncope increase the risk. However, each of these risk factors individually has limited clinical usefulness, owing to their very low PPV; (iii) patients at highest risk are those with more than one risk factor.
Keywords: Brugada type 1 ECG • Aborted sudden death • Prophylactic ICD
Journal Article. 5030 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine
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