Background Current approaches fail to separate patients at high versus low risk for ventricular arrhythmias owing to overreliance on a snapshot left ventricular ejection fraction measure. We used statistical machine learning to identify important cardiac imaging and time-varying risk predictors. Methods and Results Three hundred eighty-two cardiomyopathy patients (left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35%) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance before primary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillator insertion. The primary end point was appropriate implantable cardioverter defibrillator discharge or sudden death. Patient characteristics; serum biomarkers of inflammation, neurohormonal status, and injury; and cardiac magnetic resonance-measured left ventricle and left atrial indices and myocardial scar burden were assessed at baseline. Time-varying covariates comprised interval heart failure hospitalizations and left ventricular ejection fractions. A random forest statistical method for survival, longitudinal, and multivariable outcomes incorporating baseline and time-varying variables was compared with (1) Seattle Heart Failure model scores and (2) random forest survival and Cox regression models incorporating baseline characteristics with and without imaging variables. Age averaged 57±13 years with 28% women, 66% white, 51% ischemic, and follow-up time of 5.9±2.3 years. The primary end point (n=75) occurred at 3.3±2.4 years. Random forest statistical method for survival, longitudinal, and multivariable outcomes with baseline and time-varying predictors had the highest area under the receiver operating curve, median 0.88 (95% CI, 0.75-0.96). Top predictors comprised heart failure hospitalization, left ventricle scar, left ventricle and left atrial volumes, left atrial function, and interleukin-6 level; heart failure accounted for 67% of the variation explained by the prediction, imaging 27%, and interleukin-6 2%. Serial left ventricular ejection fraction was not a significant predictor. Conclusions Hospitalization for heart failure and baseline cardiac metrics substantially improve ventricular arrhythmic risk prediction.
- cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
- heart failure
- risk stratification
- sudden cardiac death
- ventricular arrhythmia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine