Drug conversion of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia to sustained ventricular tachycardia during serial electrophysiologic studies: Identification of drugs that exacerbate tachycardia and potential mechanisms

Robert L. Rinkenberger, Eric N. Prystowsky, Warren M. Jackman, Gerald V. Naccarelli, James J. Heger, Douglas P. Zipes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

117 Scopus citations


Eleven of 83 patients who had ventricular tachycardia (VT) and underwent serial electrophysiologic study (EPS) had a more severe VT induced while receiving a particular antiarrhythmic drug as compared to control study. For all patients only nonsustained VT was initiated during control study, while sustained VT occurred during drug testing with disopyramide (2 patients), quinidine (2 patients), amiodarone (4 patients), and encainide (7 patients), although spontaneous arrhythmias appeared well-controlled prior to repeat testing. Pacing techniques used to induce sustained VT were the same as those used in the control study in eight patients and "less aggressive" in three patients. Almost all episodes of sustained VT resulted in substantial hypotension, especially in patients who were taking encainide. Drugs associated with sustained VT increased the median tachycardia cycle length by 112 msec (p < 0.005) but increased the median ventricular effective refractory period by only 30 msec (p < 0.02). Assuming re-entry was responsible for VT, we postulate that drugs facilitated initiation of sustained VT by prolonging activation time but only minimally increasing refractoriness of the tachycardia circuit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1982


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this