Ninety-six patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias refractory to two or more conventional agents were treated with amiodarone and followed for 6 to 40 months (mean, 15 months). Currently, 75 are alive and well. Seven patients died from nonarrhythmic and 5 from arrhythmic causes. Nonfatal arrhythmias recurred in 4 patients, 1 with early and 3 with late onset. Intolerable side effects occurred in 5 patients but heart failure was not aggravated by the drug. On 24-hour Holter recordings done before and serially during therapy in 72 patients, amiodarone eliminated episodes of ventricular tachycardia and complex ectopy and reduced total ectopic beat counts by 90% or more in all but 4 patients. In contrast, ventricular tachycardia inducible by programmed electrical stimulation was suppressed in only 50% of patients, but failure of such suppression did not compromise an excellent clinical outcome. Thus, amiodarone is highly effective in the prophylaxis of recurrent refractory life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine