Prospective randomized multicenter trial of empirical antitachycardia pacing versus shocks for spontaneous rapid ventricular tachycardia in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators: Pacing Fast Ventricular Tachycardia Reduces Shock Therapies (PainFREE Rx II) trial results.
BACKGROUND: Successful antitachycardia pacing (ATP) terminates ventricular tachycardia (VT) up to 250 bpm without the need for painful shocks in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) patients. Fast VT (FVT) >200 bpm is often treated by shock because of safety concerns, however. This prospective, randomized, multicenter trial compares the safety and utility of empirical ATP with shocks for FVT in a broad ICD population.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We randomized 634 ICD patients to 2 arms-standardized empirical ATP (n=313) or shock (n=321)-for initial therapy of spontaneous FVT. ICDs were programmed to detect FVT when 18 of 24 intervals were 188 to 250 bpm and 0 of the last 8 intervals were >250 bpm. Initial FVT therapy was ATP (8 pulses, 88% of FVT cycle length) or shock at 10 J above the defibrillation threshold. Syncope and arrhythmic symptoms were collected through patient diaries and interviews. In 11+/-3 months of follow-up, 431 episodes of FVT occurred in 98 patients, representing 32% of ventricular tachyarrhythmias and 76% of those that would be detected as ventricular fibrillation and shocked with traditional ICD programming. ATP was effective in 229 of 284 episodes in the ATP arm (81%, 72% adjusted). Acceleration, episode duration, syncope, and sudden death were similar between arms. Quality of life, measured with the SF-36, improved in patients with FVT in both arms but more so in the ATP arm.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared with shocks, empirical ATP for FVT is highly effective, is equally safe, and improves quality of life. ATP may be the preferred FVT therapy in most ICD patients.
Published In/Presented At
Wathen, M. S., DeGroot, P. J., Sweeney, M. O., Stark, A. J., Otterness, M. F., Adkisson, W. O., Canby, R. C., Khalighi, K., Machado, C., Rubenstein, D. S., Volosin, K. J., & PainFREE Rx II Investigators (2004). Prospective randomized multicenter trial of empirical antitachycardia pacing versus shocks for spontaneous rapid ventricular tachycardia in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators: Pacing Fast Ventricular Tachycardia Reduces Shock Therapies (PainFREE Rx II) trial results. Circulation, 110(17), 2591–2596. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000145610.64014.E4
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division