The effect of amiodarone on survival was assessed in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and ventricular tachycardia in a drug trial with historical controls. During 1976 and 1977, 24 hour (seven) or 48 hour (79) electrocardiographic monitoring was performed in 86 consecutive patients; 24 had ventricular tachycardia and received conventional antiarrhythmic agents. Nineteen clinical, echocardiographic, and haemodynamic features were assessed. Seven patients died suddenly during follow up of three years; of these, five had continued to have ventricular tachycardia and two had no documented ventricular tachycardia. During 1978 and 1979, ventricular tachycardia was detected during 48 hour electrocardiographic monitoring in 21 of the next 82 consecutive patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They received amiodarone (150-400 mg/day, median 300); ventricular tachycardia was suppressed in all during repeat 48 hour electrocardiographic examination. Two patients died suddenly during a three year follow up, but neither belonged to the amiodarone treated group with ventricular tachycardia. The clinical and haemodynamic variables were similar in patients taking amiodarone and conventional agents. The fact that control of ventricular arrhythmia with amiodarone is significantly associated with improved survival suggests that amiodarone may prevent sudden death in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and ventricular tachycardia.
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