Sudden death caused by bradycardia and asystole in a heart transplant patient with coronary arteriopathy
Death, Sudden, Cardiac
The mechanism of death as a result of allograft ischemic heart disease is not well characterized. Ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation may not be the terminal events they often are in the general population. We report observations in a 41-year-old man with cardiac allograft arteriopathy who died suddenly while wearing an ambulatory monitor. The lethal rhythm was a progressive bradycardia terminating in asystole. Autopsy revealed epicardial and small vessel intramyocardial, coronary arteriopathy, and only mild allograft rejection. It is our belief that ischemia caused the bradycardic sudden death. We would like to hypothesize that prophylactic permanent pacemaker implantation may prevent bradycardic sudden death and improve survival in heart transplant patients with coronary disease.