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Predicting the effect of d,l-sotalol on ventricular tachycardia inducibility from the RR variability response
  1. B Brembilla-Perrot,
  2. P Houriez,
  3. O Claudon,
  4. J-P Preiss,
  5. D Beurrier
  1. Cardiology, CHU Brabois, 54500 Vandoeuvre, France
  1. Dr Brembilla-Perrot.


AIM To find a rapid way of identifying non-responders to d,l-sotalol in patients with ventricular tachycardia.

METHODS Programmed ventricular stimulation and RR variability were studied in the control state and 10 days after treatment with 160 to 320 mg ofd,l-sotalol in 36 consecutive patients with ventricular tachycardia.

RESULTS In 14 patients (group I) d,l-sotalol suppressed ventricular tachycardia inducibility. In 22 patients (group II) sustained ventricular tachycardia remained inducible during d,l-sotalol treatment. The ventricular tachycardia rate was slowed in eight patients and unchanged or accelerated in 14. At baseline, heart rate variability was similar in both groups. During treatment withd,l-sotalol, variables reflecting parasympathetic activity (pNN50, rMSSD, and high frequency amplitude (HF)) increased in both groups: HF increased from (mean (SD)) 75 (68) to 146 (134) in group I (p < 0.05) and from 60 (49) to 125 (79) in group II (p < 0.05). Other variables were unchanged in group I. In group II, the variables associated with sympathetic activity (coefficient of variance (CV), ratio of low frequency amplitude (LF) to HF) decreased significantly: CV decreased from 13 (4) to 9 (2) (p < 0.001) and LF/HF from 4.74 (3.02) to 3.00 (2.02) (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS The β blocking effect of d,l-sotalol produced a significant improvement over control values in indices of parasympathetic tone in all treated patients. However, the heart rate variability indices related to sympathetic activity were decreased only in non-responders. This effect of d,l-sotalol on heart rate variability could help detect non-responders to the drug and avoid an electrophysiological study.

  • sotalol
  • ventricular tachycardia
  • heart rate variability

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