Twenty-six patients who developed their first clinical episode of sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) while taking type IA antiarrhythmic agents for more benign rhythm disturbances were rechallenged with the identical drug during electrophysiologic testing. Patients with these new drug-associated spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias often manifested a preexisting substrate for such arrhythmias: sustained VT or VF was induced in 65% of patients at baseline, and in 58% of patients when tested with their previously taken antiarrhythmic drug. Among those without inducible sustained ventricular arrhythmias in the drug-free state, 78% remained free of inducible sustained arrhythmias when tested with the same drug they had been taking at the time of the clinical arrhythmia. Even patients without a definable electrophysiologic substrate for sustained VT or VF remained at risk for arrhythmia recurrence if treated with alternative antiarrhythmic medications: 40% of such patients who continued to receive an antiarrhythmic agent different from that being administered when their clinical VT or VF occurred had recurrent spontaneous ventricular tachyarrhythmias during follow-up. Thus, patients with drug-associated clinical sustained ventricular tachycardias form a heterogenous group that should be evaluated individually and not empirically managed for a "proarrhythmic effect" simply by antiarrhythmic drug withdrawal or drug substitution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine