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Turbulence Predicts Death Risk for Heart Failure Patients

Abnormal beating a marker for those most likely to die suddenly, study says

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormal heart rate turbulence (HRT) appears to indicate a significant risk for sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure, new research shows.

The study, published in the August HeartRhythm Journal, is the first to note that HRT predicts both all-cause mortality and heart failure progression, as well as sudden death in heart failure patients.

"Our study documented that HRT might be considered a useful tool to identify heart failure patients at high risk of death, including high risk of dying suddenly," study author Dr. Iwona Cygankiewicz, of the cardiology division of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said in a news release issued by the publication. "HRT may help physicians more effectively manage heart failure patients by indicating the need for more frequent follow-up visits at specialized heart failure units and more intensely applied therapy, including ICD implantation in high-risk patients."

Roughly half of congestive heart failure-related deaths are caused by progressive heart failure, while the rest are believed to be linked to serious arrhythmias.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about congestive heart failure.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Heart Rhythm Society, news release, Aug. 1, 2008

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