Sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains a major public health problem in developed countries. Nonetheless, the last two decades have witnessed many advances in the epidemiology of SCD, its prediction and prevention. We have learned that approximately half of these events occur in individuals without a previously diagnosed heart disease. The proportion of the presenting arrhythmia in patients with cardiac arrest has somewhat changed from ventricular fibrillation towards pulseless electrical activity and asystole. These observations, if further confirmed, may challenge previous strategies of risk stratification and the management of survivors of cardiac arrest. Despite efforts to identify patients with clinical, anatomic, autonomic, electrical, and/or transient risk factors, the predictive accuracy of relevant diagnostic tests remains often inconclusive. Further progress in this field can be expected by imaging studies that are playing an increasing role in identification of high-risk patients. There have been major advances in the understanding of the role of genetics and we have clearly entered in an era in which knowledge of the genotype will contribute to a better individualization of the management of patients at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias of genetic origin. While the use of implantable defibrillators has been a tremendous advance in patients at risk for ventricular tachyarrhythmias, the use of automatic external defibrillators and wearable defibrillators is a recent advance that allows potential SCD prevention in more patients. New strategies to improve outcomes in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are being developed. We decided to organize this symposium to update and review the most critical new data on epidemiology, risk stratification and prevention of SCD. Both of us have been involved in this topic for many years and our institutions guarantee the scientific level of such meeting. With the major support of the “Fondazione Internazionale Menarini” we have succeeded in bringing together an outstanding faculty which includes the world leaders in the field. The structure of the meeting is such to allow adequate discussion time and interaction between audience and faculty. The city of Prague has been selected for the venue not only because of its location but also for the further promotion of the integration of the Eastern part of Europe. We look forward to seeing you in Prague!
Presidents of the Meeting Professor Peter J. Schwartz Professor Josef Kautzner