What is the incidence of ventricular tachycardia (VT) in the US?

Updated: Dec 05, 2017
  • Author: Steven J Compton, MD, FACC, FACP, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Ventricular tachycardia (VT) and coronary artery disease (CAD) are common throughout most of the developed world. In developing countries, VT and other heart diseases are relatively less common.

The incidence of VT in the United States is not well quantified, because of the clinical overlap of VT with ventricular fibrillation (VF), but examination of sudden death data provides a rough estimate of VT incidence. Most sudden cardiac deaths are caused by VT or VF, [1] at an estimated rate of approximately 300,000 deaths per year in the United States, or about half of the estimated cardiac mortality. [2]

A prospective surveillance study gave a sudden death incidence of 53 per 100,000 population, accounting for 5.6% of all mortality. [33] This is only a rough estimate of VT incidence, both because many patients have nonfatal VT and because arrhythmic sudden deaths may be associated with VF or bradycardia rather than with VT. In patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy and nonsustained VT, sudden death mortality approaches 30% in 2 years.

Morbidity from VT is associated with hemodynamic collapse. Resuscitated survivors may suffer ischemic encephalopathy, acute renal insufficiency, transient ventricular dysfunction, aspiration pneumonitis, and trauma related to resuscitative efforts.

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