GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation



First Thesis Advisor

Joel Gore, M.D.


Acute Coronary Syndrome, Heart Arrest, Ventricular Fibrillation, Tachycardia


Objectives: Contemporary data are lacking with respect to the incidence rates of, factors associated with, and impact of cardiac arrest from ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia (VF-CA) on hospital survival in patients admitted with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The objectives of this multinational study were to characterize trends in the magnitude of in-hospital VF-CA complicating an ACS and describe its impact over time on hospital prognosis.

Methods: The study population consisted of 59,161 patients enrolled in the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events Study between 2000 and 2007. Overall, 3,618 patients (6.2%) developed VF-CA during their hospitalization for an ACS. Incidence rates of VF-CA declined over time, albeit in an inconsistent manner. Patients who experienced VF-CA were on average older and had a greater burden of cardiovascular disease, yet were less likely to receive evidence-based cardiac therapies than patients in whom VF-CA did not occur. Hospital death rates were 55.3% and 1.5% in patients with and without VF-CA, respectively. There was a greater than 50% decline in the hospital death rates associated with VF-CA during the years under study. Patients with a VF-CA occurring after 48 hours were at especially high risk for dying during hospitalization (82.8%).

Conclusions: Despite reductions in the magnitude of, and short-term mortality from, VF-CA between 2000 and 2007, VF-CA continues to exert a significant adverse effect on survival among patients hospitalized with an ACS. Opportunities exist to improve the identification and treatment of ACS patients at risk for VF-CA to reduce the incidence of, and mortality from, this serious arrhythmic disturbance.



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