Sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains a major public health problem worldwide, yet current methods to identify those at greatest risk are inadequate. High-risk individuals may benefit from potentially life-saving treatment, such as insertion of an implantable-cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). However, such treatments are expensive and have their own associated risks. Furthermore, most cases of SCD occur in the general adult population who may be relatively asymptomatic but yet have an underlying predisposition to SCD. Hence, there is great interest and clinical need in improving methods for risk stratification of SCD to identify those at greatest risk and implement the most appropriate treatment. This review provides an update on current risk-stratification methods for SCD in high-risk groups, in particular patients with reduced left ventricular function following acute myocardial infarction and those with non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy, and highlights some novel methods that may have a role to play in future risk-stratification schemes. Approaches and challenges for SCD risk stratification among the general public are also discussed.
Reginald Liew - Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore