Quinidine gluconate (total dose 4-4 to 9-1 mg/kg) was infused intravenously over 22 minutes in 20 patients with either frequent premature ventricular contractions or supraventricular arrhythmias, 16 of whom had bundle-branch block. Therapeutic plasma quinidine levels (3 to 7 mg/l) were achieved in 15. Heart rate, atrioventricular nodal, and infranodal conduction times did not change significantly. The QRS duration increased significantly from 128+/-30 to 134+/-29 ms at peak plasma quinidine levels (P less than 0.01). Mild hypotension occurred during infusion in most patients. Two patients had a severe but transient toxic response characterised by hypotension, nausea, vomiting, and diaphoresis. Atrioventricular dissociation with escape His bundle or fascicular rhythm occurred in 1 patient with sinus bradycardia. Bundle-branch block does not contraindicate administration of quinidine. Quinidine gluconate administered intravenously (0-3 to 0-4 mg/kg per min) is frequently associated with hypotenstion and should be used only in an intensive care setting and with careful monitoring of blood pressure.
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