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Value of serial electropharmacological testing in survivors of cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation



Value of serial electropharmacological testing in survivors of cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation



Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia 14(9): 644-654



Electrophysiologic studies were performed in 10 patients (8 .male., 2 .female., mean age: 60.2 yr) who had survived an episode of cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation to evaluate the usefulness of serial acute drug testing in selecting an effective chronic antiarrhythmic regimen. The cardiac arrest was always sudden and unexpected. It ocurred outside the hospital in 7 cases and in the hospital in 3 cases. Patients in whom cardiac arrest was associated with evidence of acute myocardial infarction were excluded from the study. Of the patients, 9 were suffering from chronic ischemic heart disease with 1 or more previous myocardial infarctions while 1 had no evidenece of organic heart disease. A ventricular aneurysm was present in 4 of them. During control electrophysiologic study a sustained VT was induced by ventricular stimulation (single and dobule extrastimuli at various paced ventricular cycle lengths + burst of rapid ventricular pacing) in 9 of the 10 patients (90%) and a nonsustained VT was induced in 1 of them (10%). In 3 patients (30%) VT could be initiated only by right ventricular stimulation at a site different from the apex (outflow tract). During serial acute drug testing a totally effective drug regimen (successful in preventing the induction of any ventricular arrhythmia) was found in 6 of the 9 patients (66.7%) who underwent this procedure and a partially effective drug regimen (sustained VT no longer inducible, easier to interrupt and considerably slower) was found in 2 patients (22.2%). None of the patients who received a chronic antiarrhythmic therapy based on the results of serial acute drug testing died suddenly during a mean follow-up of 14.8 mo. (range: 3-29) and only 1 had a recurrence of cardiac arrest. The latter was taking antiarrhythmic drug at a dosage less than that proved to be effective during electropharmacological testing. The only patient who refused serial acute drug testing and received an empiric antiarrhytmic therapy died suddenly at the 21st month of the follow-up. Amiodarone, alone or in combination, was given chronically to 6 of the patients (60%). Serial electropharmacological testing is useful in selecting an effective long-term drug regimen in survivors of cardiac arrest, and amiodarone may be effective in preventing sudden death in these patients.

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Accession: 006889500

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