Ventricular arrhythmias and changes in heart rate preceding ventricular tachycardia in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator

Claudia Lerma, Niels Wessel, Alexander Schirdewan, Juergen Kurths, Leon Glass

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The objective was to determine the characteristics of heart rate variability and ventricular arrhythmias prior to the onset of ventricular tachycardia (VT) in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Sixty-eight beat-to-beat time series from 13 patients with an ICD were analyzed to quantify heart rate variability and ventricular arrhythmias. The episodes of VT were classified in one of two groups depending on whether the sinus rate in the 1 min preceding the VT was greater or less than 90 beats per minute. In a subset of patients, increased heart rate and reduced heart rate variability was often observed up to 20 min prior to the VT. There was a non-significant trend to higher incidence of premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) before VT compared to control recordings. The patterns of the ventricular arrhythmias were highly heterogeneous among different patients and even within the same patient. Analysis of the changes of heart rate and heart rate variability may have predictive value about the onset of VT in selected patients. The patterns of ventricular arrhythmia could not be used to predict onset of VT in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-727
Number of pages13
JournalMedical & biological engineering & computing
Issue number7
Early online date15 Mar 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • ventricular arrhythmias
  • heart rate variability
  • implantable cardioverter defibrillators
  • non-linear methods
  • ventricular tachycardia

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