New ESC guidelines for the management of patients with ventricular arrhythmias and the prevention of sudden death

The new ESC guideline was launched at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in London 31th of August 2015.

Published 11/1/2016

An international group of experts have been working a year and half with the new comprehensive guidelines on 66 pages with more than 800 references. Tone M. Norekvål from the PROCARD Research Group at the Department of Heart Disease, Haukeland University Hospital has presented Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professionals.

One new and unique feature with this guideline is that communication and patient-centered care are included. It is the first guideline that has included psychosocial factors related to screening, diagnosis and treatment.

One of the top 10 recommendations is just that matters affecting his/her quality of life should be discussed with the patient prior to an implantation of an ICD and further in the course of the disease. In addition, knowledge gaps related to this topic is well known. Further research is warranted to establish evidence-based practice in the field, as well as optimize care for patients at risk of life-threatening arrhythmias and their next of kind. The chapter on screening of family members at risk of sudden cardiac death was specially mentioned when the guideline was presented in the ESC Congress News. It is shown that only 40% of family member are screened – partly due to lack of infrastructure, and partly because the screening itself is a strain.

Other, completely new elements presented in the guideline, is recommendations related to subcutaneous ICD implantation and wearable ICD (a waistcoat with an integrated defibrillator).

Developing new international guidelines are one of the core activities of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). In 2015, ESC has produced five new guidelines of which this is one. The guidelines are available both in full text, a short version and pocket-sized. ESC has developed a toolbox to assist guidelines in clinical practice. See ESC webside.

2015 ESC Guidelines on the management of patients with ventricular arrhythmias and prevention of sudden cardiac death.