The prognostic significance of the response to programmed ventricular stimulation was studied in 75 stable survivors of acute myocardial infarction. Programmed ventricular stimulation induced sustained ventricular arrhythmias in 33 (44%) patients and did not induce these arrhythmias in 42 (56%) patients. During a mean follow up of 18 months, four patients died suddenly and three developed spontaneous sustained ventricular tachycardia. The occurrence of arrhythmic events was not significantly different in patients with inducible sustained arrhythmias and those without, but such events were predicted by the presence of mild congestive heart failure. Although the inducibility of sustained ventricular tachycardia (but not ventricular fibrillation) seemed to identify a high risk subset with an arrhythmic event rate of 21% compared with 5.5% in others, it had a low sensitivity (57%) and a low positive predictive accuracy (21%) for arrhythmic events. Programmed ventricular stimulation is not helpful in identifying a subset of patients at high risk after an uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction.
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