Author + information
- Received December 12, 1990
- Revision received February 6, 1991
- Accepted April 20, 1991
- Published online October 1, 1991.
- Kenneth A. Ellenbogen, MD, FACCa,∗,
- Virgil C. Dias, PharmDa,∗,
- Vance J. Plumb, MD, FACC†,a,
- J.Thomas Heywood, MD‡,a and
- David M. Mirvis, MD, FACC§,a
- ↵∗Address for reprints: Kenneth A. Ellenbogen, MD, Medical College of Virginia, Box 53, MCV Station, Richmond, Virginia 23298.
The safety and efficacy of a 10- to 15-mg/h continuous infusion of intravenous diltiazem were evaluated in 47 patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter who first responded to 20 mg or 20 mg followed by one or more 25-mg bolus doses of open label intravenous diltiazem. Of the 47 patients, 44 responded to the bolus injection and were randomized under double-blind conditions to receive either a continuous infusion of intravenous diltiazem (10 to 15 mg/h) (23 patients) or placebo (21 patients) for up to 24 h.
Seventeen (74%) of the 23 patients receiving diltiazem infusion and none of the 21 with placebo infusion maintained a therapeutic response for 24 h (p < 0.001). Over 24 h, patients receiving diltiazem infusion lost response significantly more slowly than did those receiving placebo infusion (p < 0.001). Nonresponders to the double-blind infusion were given an additional bolus injection of open label intravenous diltiazem and administered an open label 24-h intravenous diltiazem infusion. The overall proportion of patients maintaining a response to a 24-h infusion of intravenous diltiazem under double-blind or open label conditions combined was 83% (34 of 41).
Efficacy of the 24-h infusion of intravenous diltiazem was similar in elderly versus young patients, those who did versus those who did not receive digoxin and those weighing <84 versus ≥84 kg. However, intravenous diltiazem appeared to be more effective in atrial fibrillation than in atrial flutter. No significant untoward effects were noted.
A bolus dose or doses followed by a 24-h continuous infusion of intravenous diltiazem can be safely administered to patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter and can rapidly and effectively achieve and maintain heart rate control in most patients. Intravenous diltiazem can serve as a therapeutic bridge in patients with these atrial arrhythmias awaiting initiation or onset of action of long-term antiarrhythmic therapy or cardioversion.
☆ This study was supported by a grant from Marion Merrell Dow, Inc. It was presented in part at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 1990.
- Received December 12, 1990.
- Revision received February 6, 1991.
- Accepted April 20, 1991.