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Electrical Storm: Incidence, Prognosis and Therapy


The term “electrical storm” indicates a life-threatening clinical condition characterized by the recurrence of hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia and/or ventricular fibrillation, in particular in patients with ICD implanted for primary or secondary prevention. Although there isn’t a shared definition of electrical storm, nowadays the most accepted definition refers to three or more separate arrhythmia episodes leading to ICD therapies including antitachycardia pacing  or shock occurring over a single 24 hours’ time period. Clinical presentation can be dramatic and triggering mechanism are not clear at all yet, but electrical storm is associated with high mortality rates and low patients quality of life, both in the acute phase and in the long term. The first line therapy is based on antiarrhythmic drugs to suppress electrical storm, but in refractory patients, interventions such as catheter ablation or in some cases surgical cardiac sympathetic denervation might be helpful. Anyhow, earlier interventional management can lead to better outcomes than persisting with antiarrhythmic pharmacologic therapy and, when available, an early interventional approach should be preferred.

Credits: Antonio. Sagone



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