Atrioventricular (AV) conduction, ventriculoatrial (VA) conduction, and the mechanism of tachycardia, were studied by programmed electrical stimulation before and after the administration of verapamil, in 10 patients with paroxysmal re-entrant supraventricular tachycardia. In 7 patients the tachycardia circuit was confined to the AV node. In 3 patients an accessory pathway conducting only in the ventriculoatrial direction was used during tachycardia. When administered intravenously during tachycardia, verapamil terminated the arrhythmia in 9 patients. Verapamil lengthened the effective and the functional refractory period of the AV node and the AV nodal transmission time in all patients in whom this could be studied. As a result of these changes, it was not possible to initiate tachycardia in 3 patients. The width of the zone of atrial premature beats able to initiate tachycardia (the tachycardia zone) narrowed in 5 patients, and increased in 2 patients. In 6 of these 7 patients the tachycardia zone shifted to longer premature beat intervals. Verapamil resulted in slowing of the heart rate during tachycardia. Apart from slowing in heart rate during tachycardia and termination of tachycardia after intravenous verapamil, the 3 patients with an accessory pathway showed no beneficial effect of verapamil on the mechanism of initiation of tachycardia. Five patients were restudied after 2 to 3 weeks of oral administration of verapamil. Though less, effects were similar to those obtained after intravenous administration.
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