Results of electrophysiological testing and long-term follow-up in patients sustaining cardiac arrest only while receiving type IA antiarrhythmic agents.

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UNLABELLED: Therapeutic management of patients sustaining a cardiac arrest while receiving antiarrhythmic agents can be difficult since the role of the drug in possibly facilitating the arrhythmia is often difficult to define. To determine if the response to programmed stimulation could give insight into which patients may have experienced a drug-induced cardiac arrest, we studied 29 patients (61 +/- 9 years) with no prior history of sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VT) who suffered a cardiac arrest only while receiving type Ia antiarrhythmic agents. Patients with documented myocardial infarction, acute ischemia, electrolyte abnormalities, or torsade de pointes were excluded from the study. Twenty-four patients had coronary artery disease with prior myocardial infarction (ejection fraction 28% +/- 9%) and five patients had idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (ejection fraction 31% +/- 6%). During baseline electrophysiological testing, 19 patients (66%) had inducible sustained ventricular arrhythmias: uniform VT, n = 14 (group I), polymorphic VT or ventricular fibrillation, n = 5 (group II). Ten patients (group III) had no inducible sustained ventricular arrhythmias. To determine if rechallenge with a type Ia agent could facilitate induction of a sustained ventricular arrhythmia in group III, eight patients underwent ten electrophysiological studies during therapy with either procainamide or quinidine. Only two patients developed sustained VT in response to programmed stimulation. Patients in groups I and II received therapy guided by electrophysiological testing, including antiarrhythmic agents alone (n = 8), subendocardial resection (n = 4), or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (n = 7). Patients in group III received antiarrhythmic agents empirically (n = 3), or for treatment of atrial tachyarrhythmias (n = 2) or nonsustained VT (n = 1). In addition, four patients in group III received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. During a mean follow-up of 28 +/- 27 months (range: 1 day-84 months) 13 patients died suddenly or received a defibrillator shock preceded by syncope or presyncope: group I: n = 5; group II: n = 2; group III: n = 6.

IN CONCLUSION: (1) most patients sustaining a cardiac arrest only in the presence of type Ia antiarrhythmic agents have inducible sustained VT in the absence of antiarrhythmic agents, and (2) the risk of recurrent VT persists in patients without inducible sustained arrhythmias in the drug-free state, regardless of whether they manifest inducible arrhythmias after rechallenge with a type Ia agent.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine

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