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Induction of ventricular fibrillation predicts sudden death in patients treated with amiodarone because of ventricular tachyarrhythmias after a myocardial infarction.
  1. L. M. Rodríguez,
  2. E. B. Sternick,
  3. J. L. Smeets,
  4. C. Timmermans,
  5. K. den Dulk,
  6. G. Oreto,
  7. H. J. Wellens
  1. Department of Cardiology, University of Limburg, Academic Hospital, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


    OBJECTIVE--To examine the value of programmed electrical stimulation of the heart in predicting sudden death in patients receiving amiodarone to treat ventricular tachyarrhythmias after myocardial infarction. DESIGN--Consecutive patients; retrospective study. SETTING--Referral centre for cardiology, academic hospital. PATIENTS--106 patients with ventricular tachycardia (n = 77) or ventricular fibrillation (n = 29) late after myocardial infarction. INTERVENTIONS--Programmed electrical stimulation was performed while on amiodarone treatment for at least one month. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--In 80/106 patients either ventricular fibrillation (n = 15) or sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (n = 65) was induced. After a mean follow up of 50 (SD 40) months (1-144), 11 patients died suddenly and two used their implantable cardioverter debfibrillator. By multivariate analysis two predictors for sudden death were found: (1) inducibility of ventricular fibrillation under amiodarone treatment (P << 0.001), and (2) a left ventricular ejection fraction of < 40% (P < 0.05). The survival rate at one, two, three, and five years was 70%, 62%, 62%, and 40% respectively for patients in whom ventricular fibrillation was induced, and 98%, 96%, 94%, 94% for patients with induced sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia. Where there was no sustained arrhythmia, five year survival was 100%. CONCLUSIONS--In patients receiving amiodarone because of life threatening ventricular arrhythmias after myocardial infarction, inducibility of ventricular fibrillation, but not of sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, indicates a high risk of sudden death.

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