Caffeine and Ventricular Arrhythmias: An Electrophysiological Approach

Linda B. Chelsky, Joel E. Cutler, Karen Griffith, Jack Kron, James H. McClelland, John H. Mcanulty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Little information is known regarding caffeine’s effect on the substrate supporting sustained ventricular arrhythmias. This prospective study evaluated the effect of coffee (275 mg of caffeine) on this substrate with programmed ventricular stimulation in 22 patients with a history of symptomatic nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, or ventricular fibrillation. Patients under-went electrophysiological testing before and 1 hour after coffee ingestion. Mean ( ± SEM) plasma caffeine level achieved after coffee consumption was 6.2 ± 0.5 mg/L. Mean plasma catecholamine and potassium values were not altered significantly 1 hour following caffeine ingestion. The number of extrastimuli required to induce an arrhythmia was unchanged in 10 patients (46%), increased in six (27%), and decreased in six (27%). Rhythm severity was unchanged in 17 patients (77%), more severe in two (9%), and less severe in three (14%). In those patients with clinical ventricular arrhythmias, caffeine did not significantly alter inducibility or severity of arrhythmias, suggesting little effect on the substrate supporting ventricular arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2236-2240
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 7 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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