Br Heart J 48:140-148 doi:10.1136/hrt.48.2.140
  • Research Article

Acute electrophysiological effects of flecainide acetate on cardiac conduction and refractoriness in man.


The electrophysiological effects of flecainide acetate (2 mg/kg as an intravenous infusion over five minutes) were assessed in 47 patients undergoing electrophysiological study. Seven patients had normal electrophysiology, 16 had a direct accessory atrioventricular pathway, 12 had dual atrioventricular nodal (AH) pathways, five had paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia, six had conduction system disease, and one patient had a left atrial tachycardia. No significant change occurred in sinus cycle length. The PA interval, AH interval, and HV interval were all significantly prolonged. The QRS complex duration increased significantly. The QT interval showed slight prolongation due entirely to the increase in QRS duration. Refractoriness of the atrial and ventricular myocardium was slightly prolonged, but was significant only at ventricular level. No significant change occurred in refractoriness of the normal atrioventricular node. Pronounced prolongation of retrograde "fast" AH pathway refractoriness was observed in those patients with dual AH pathways. Anterograde and retrograde accessory pathway refractoriness were both greatly increased. These electrophysiological properties strongly suggest that flecainide will be useful in the management of a wide variety of cardiac arrhythmias. It should be administered, however, with caution to patients with pre-existing conduction system disease. Because repolarization is not delayed flecainide is unlikely to induce ventricular arrhythmias related to prolongation of the QT interval.