1. Section Editor(s): Pfeifer, Gail MA, RN

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Predicting sudden cardiac arrest in women. Sudden cardiac arrest is less often preceded by coronary artery disease (CAD) and severe dysfunction of the left ventricle in women than in men, which may explain why fewer women are deemed candidates for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), suggests a study published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In reviewing the medical records of 1,586 adults experiencing sudden cardiac arrest in Oregon from 2002 to 2007, investigators found that only 40% of women had an established diagnosis of CAD, compared with 49% of men, and severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction was present in only 21% of women, compared with 35% of men. Reduced left ventricular systolic function is one criterion used to determine eligibility for ICD implantation, and the authors propose that the low prevalence of reduced left ventricular systolic function in this study suggests an underestimation of the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in both sexes but particularly in women.