[Epidemiology of sudden cardiac death in Spain].
Sudden cardiac death is a remarkable public health problem though its incidence in Spain is lower than in other industrialised countries. Approximately 12% of all natural deaths occur suddenly, and 88% of them are of cardiac origin. This is the form of death in more than 50% of coronary heart disease patients. Moreover, it is the first symptom in 19-26% of cases. This close relationship with coronary heart disease results in cardiovascular risk factors being also risk factors for sudden death. Several factors, such as physical activity or certain drugs may act as sudden death triggers. The more effective strategy addressed to sudden cardiac death prevention includes identification high-risk subgroups of patients (i.e. patients with previous coronary heart disease, heart failure, out-of-hospital sudden death survivors and patients who developed a ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia after a myocardial infarction) and development of efficacious therapeutic interventions. Given that most sudden death are related to coronary heart disease, those primary preventive measures directed to reduce the coronary heart disease incidence rates will also prevent sudden cardiac deaths in population. Finally, community programs directed to reduce the time to reach cardiac emergencies by trained personnel, and to train general population in cardio-respiratory reanimation have shown to be efficacious owing to the fact that most sudden cardiac deaths occur out of hospitals.