- Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected loss of heart function.
- Ten performance and quality measures for the prevention of sudden cardiac death have been released in a new report.
- These measures can assist clinicians to use guideline-directed medical therapy for prevention of sudden cardiac death in patients with heart attack.
Top ten quality and performance measures to prevent sudden cardiac death has been released by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) in a new report to help health systems, legislative bodies, NGOs, healthcare practitioners, patients, families, and communities.
Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected death due to the sudden cessation of cardiac activity. This condition is different from sudden cardiac arrest.
The existing guidelines for the prevention of sudden cardiac death are underutilized. Sudden cardiac death and sudden cardiac arrest can affect people of all ages, demographics. The writing committee attempted to identify performance measures that can assess the quality of care for the prevention of sudden cardiac death.
"This is the first comprehensive measure set in the area of sudden cardiac death prevention. Our vision is that these measures will be developed, tested, and implemented in clinical practice and that implementation will improve patient care and outcomes," said Sana Al-Khatib, MD, FACC, co-chair of the writing committee and professor of medicine at Duke University.
"While some people--such as patients with heart failure--are known to be at risk of sudden cardiac death, others are not. We need initiatives to improve the quality of care for those with a known risk, but also for the victims of sudden cardiac arrest," Al-Khatib said.
Performance and Quality Measures for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death
- Smoking cessation intervention in patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest, have a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia or are at risk for sudden cardiac death
- Screening for family history of sudden cardiac death
- Screening for asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction among individuals who have a strong family history of cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death
- Referring for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) education to those family members of patients who are hospitalized with known heart conditions that increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest
- Use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for prevention of sudden cardiac death in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction who have an anticipated survival of more than one year
- Use of guideline-directed medical therapy for prevention of sudden cardiac death in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction
- Documenting the absence of reversible causes of ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest and sustained ventricular tachycardia before a secondary prevention ICD is placed
- Counseling eligible patients about an ICD
- Counseling first-degree relatives of survivors of sudden cardiac arrest associated with an inheritable condition about the need for screening for the inheritable condition
Sudden cardiac death occurs due to Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) (the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick), Coronary artery abnormalities, and Long QT syndrome (inherited heart rhythm disorder).
In the United States, nearly 356,500 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year. Most of the sudden cardiac deaths can be prevented by implementing evidence-based and guideline-endorsed recommendations for primary or secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. But sudden cardiac death can occur in people who do not appear to be at high risk.
Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Even when a patient survives, the condition may have a devastating impact on the patient's quality of life.
- Sana M. Al-Khatib, Clyde W. Yancy, Penelope Solis, Lance Becker, Emelia J. Benjamin, Roger G. Carrillo, Justin A. Ezekowitz, Gregg C. Fonarow, Bharat K. Kantharia, Monica Kleinman. Clinical Performance and Quality Measures for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death : A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures. Journal of the American College of Cardiology,(2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.09.933