BACKGROUND: As part of a population-based study of acute myocardial infarction, we examined changes over time in the incidence and in-hospital case-fatality rates of primary ventricular fibrillation complicating acute myocardial infarction.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with validated acute myocardial infarction hospitalized at 16 hospitals in the Worcester, Mass, metropolitan area between 1975 and 1990 comprised the study sample. During the 15-year study period, 5.1% of patients developed primary ventricular fibrillation in the setting of uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction, with this rate remaining relatively constant over time. Both age- and multivariable-adjusted analyses showed no significant trend in the incidence rates of primary ventricular fibrillation during the study period. The in-hospital case-fatality rate for patients with primary ventricular fibrillation was significantly elevated compared with the rate for those without primary ventricular fibrillation and uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction (48.3% versus 1.5%, P < .001). No significant change over time was noted in in-hospital case-fatality rates associated with primary ventricular fibrillation while controlling for a variety of short-term prognostic factors.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this communitywide observational study suggest that neither the incidence nor the prognosis associated with primary ventricular fibrillation resulting from acute myocardial infarction has improved over time.
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