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While sudden cardiac death (SCD) in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is due to arrhythmias, the guidelines for prediction of SCD are based solely on non-electrophysiological methods. This study aims to stimulate thinking about whether the interests of patients with HCM are better served by using current, 'risk factor', methods of prediction or by further development of electrophysiological methods to determine arrhythmic risk. Five published predictive studies of SCD in HCM, which contain sufficient data to permit analysis, were analysed to compute receiver operating characteristics together with their confidence bounds to compare their formal prediction either by bootstrapping or Monte Carlo analysis. Four are based on clinical risk factors, one with additional MRI analysis, and were regarded as exemplars of the risk factor approach. The other used an electrophysiological method and directly compared this method to risk factors in the same patients. Prediction methods that use conventional clinical risk factors and MRI have low predictive capacities that will only detect 50-60% of patients at risk with a 15-30% false positive rate [area under the curve (AUC) = ∼0.7], while the electrophysiological method detects 90% of events with a 20% false positive rate (AUC = ∼0.89). Given improved understanding of complex arrhythmogenesis, arrhythmic SCD is likely to be more accurately predictable using electrophysiologically based approaches as opposed to current guidelines and should drive further development of electrophysiologically based methods.

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Prediction, Receiver operating characteristic, Sudden death, Humans, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Risk Factors, Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic, Death, Sudden, Cardiac, ROC Curve