OBJECTIVE--To study the value of intravenous disopyramide as part of an invasive electrophysiological study in predicting impending high degree atrioventricular block in patients with bifascicular block. DESIGN--An invasive electrophysiological study was performed in the basal state and after the infusion of disopyramide (2 mg/kg body weight). The progression to high degree atrioventricular block was assessed by bradycardia-detecting pacemakers or repeated 12-lead electrocardiogram recordings, or both. PATIENTS--73 patients with bifascicular block were included, of whom 25 had a history of unexplained syncope. The remaining 48 patients had no arrhythmia related symptoms and were included as controls. All patients had an ejection fraction of > 35%. RESULTS--After a mean follow up of 23 months, seven patients in the syncope group and three in the non-syncope group had a documented high degree atrioventricular block or pacemaker-detected bradycardia of < or = 30 beats/min for > or = 6 s. The sensitivity of the disopyramide test was 71% and the specificity 98%. The corresponding figures for an abnormal electrophysiological study in the basal state were 14% and 91%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS--The sensitivity of an invasive electrophysiological study in patients with bifascicular block and syncope can be markedly increased by the use of intravenous disopyramide. A positive test is a highly specific finding and warrants pacemaker implantation.
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