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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A comparison of electrophysiologically guided antiarrhythmic drug therapy with beta-blocker therapy in patients with symptomatic, sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias.

BACKGROUND. Antiarrhythmic drug therapy guided by invasive electrophysiologic testing is now widely used in patients with symptomatic, sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias. METHODS. We conducted a prospective, randomized trial in 170 patients to investigate whether this approach would improve long-term outcome. Patients whose arrhythmia was inducible by programmed electrical stimulation were assigned to treatment with electrophysiologically guided drug therapy based on serial testing (61 patients) or with metoprolol (54 patients). Electrophysiologically guided therapy consisted of serial testing of antiarrhythmic agents to identify the first one that rendered the arrhythmia noninducible. The 55 patients whose arrhythmia was noninducible during the initial electrophysiologic test were also treated with metoprolol. RESULTS. During a mean (+/- SD) follow-up period of 23 +/- 17 months, recurrent, nonfatal arrhythmia occurred in 44 patients and sudden death due to cardiac factors in 27. The incidence of symptomatic arrhythmia and sudden death combined was virtually the same in the two groups with inducible arrhythmia after two years of observation (electrophysiologically guided therapy vs. metoprolol therapy, 46 percent vs. 48 percent). The outcome was more favorable in the patients with noninducible arrhythmia at base line (75 percent had neither adverse event) than in those with inducible arrhythmia who were assigned to metoprolol therapy (P = 0.009 by log-rank test). Only 6 of the 29 patients (21 percent) with inducible arrhythmia that became noninducible during drug therapy had recurrent arrhythmia or sudden death, as compared with 21 of the 32 patients (66 percent) with arrhythmia that continued to be inducible (P less than 0.001). A multivariate regression analysis identified continued inducibility of the arrhythmia as an independent predictor of recurrent arrhythmia or sudden death (relative risk, 7.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.3 to 23.2; P less than 0.001). CONCLUSIONS. As compared with metoprolol therapy, electrophysiologically guided antiarrhythmic drug therapy did not improve the overall outcome of patients with sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias. However, effective suppression of inducible arrhythmia by antiarrhythmic drugs was associated with a better outcome than was lack of suppression.[1]


  1. A comparison of electrophysiologically guided antiarrhythmic drug therapy with beta-blocker therapy in patients with symptomatic, sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Steinbeck, G., Andresen, D., Bach, P., Haberl, R., Oeff, M., Hoffmann, E., von Leitner, E.R. N. Engl. J. Med. (1992) [Pubmed]
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