The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in Asians is lower than that seen in Western populations, but there are few available data on the incidence and associated cardiac etiology of SCA in Asians. From 2002 to 2013, patients with SCA were analyzed using a cohort from the South Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) coded database. Sudden unexplained death syndrome (SUDS) was defined as cryptogenic arrest, excluding that of non-cardiac origin, coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy (CM), and valvular heart disease. During the 12-year study period, 5,973 patients (0.53%) from the total cohort of 1,125,691 had a cardiac arrest code. The overall incidence of arrest was 48.7 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 16.6-18.0). The incidence of primary SCA excluding those of non-cardiac origin was 16.1 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 15.4-16.8). It was higher in males than in females (18.1 vs. 14.1 per 100,000 person-years). CAD was the most common cause of SCA (59.4%), and followed by CM (13.9%). SUDS accounted for 14.7% of SCA events. The risk of SCA had increased gradually from over 25 years old. Heart failure, atrial fibrillation and hypertension are major factors associated with SCA incidence. Our findings outline epidemiologic data for SCA and the proportion of associated cardiac etiology leads SCA in a large population.
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