OBJECTIVES: To compare the incidence of pause-dependent polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (PVT) in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) randomly assigned to the QT-prolonging antiarrhythmic dofetilide or placebo. BACKGROUND: Drug-related torsade de pointes (TdP) is usually recognized within days of initiating therapy, but its incidence during long-term therapy is unknown. METHODS: We assessed the frequency of TdP and ICD electrograms compatible with TdP in a multicenter study that randomized ICD patients to placebo (n = 87) or dofetilide (n = 87). As reported elsewhere, the number of patients with a primary trial end point (ICD intervention for VT or ventricular fibrillation) was similar in the two groups. For this analysis, a qualifying event was TdP (on electrocardiogram) or an intracardiac electrogram showing pause-dependent PVT. RESULTS: A total of 620 electrograms obtained in 131 patients were analyzed blindly by prospectively defined criteria for episodes of pause-dependent polymorphic VT. These were identified in 15/87 (17%) patients receiving dofetilide and 5/87 (6%) patients on placebo (p < 0.05). Five of these episodes were early (<3 days), all of which were TdP on dofetilide. There were 15 late events, 10 on dofetilide and five on placebo (p = 0.29). The median time to a late event was 22 days (range 6 to 107 days) for dofetilide and 99 days (range 34 to 207 days) for placebo. CONCLUSIONS: Pause-dependent PVT was more common among patients receiving dofetilide, although total VT incidence was similar in the two groups. These data suggest that in ICD patients either long-term dofetilide therapy is associated with an increased risk of TdP or the drug alters VT morphology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine