Author + information
- Received August 28, 1984
- Revision received April 30, 1985
- Accepted May 17, 1985
- Published online October 1, 1985.
- Roop Lal, MD*,
- Peter D. Chapman, MD†,
- Gerald V. Naccarrelli, MD, FACC‡,
- Paul J. Troup, MD, FACC‡,
- Robert L. Rinkenberger, MD‡,
- Anne H. Dougherty, MD‡ and
- Rodolphe Ruffy, MD, FACC*,a
- ↵aAddress for reprints: Rodolphe Ruffy, MD, Director, Arrhythmia Service, Jewish Hospital at Washington University, Cardiology Division, 216 S. Kingshighway, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.
Thirty-eight patients with organic heart disease and history of sudden cardiac arrest or recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia were treated with flecainide. Coronary artery disease was present in 33 patients. Previous antiarrhythmic therapy consisted of two to eight drugs (mean four). Fourteen patients were resuscitated from sudden cardiac death and 24 patients had chronic recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia. Twenty-eight patients had electrophysiologic testing before and during flecainide treatment. Sustained ventricular tachycardia became noninducible in 5 patients, nonsustained in 5 patients and slowed in 13 patients (cycle length increased from 278 ± 64 to 395 ± 91 ms; p = 0.002). Three of the 14 patients with sudden cardiac death and 15 of the 24 patients with recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia remained on long-term flecainide treatment. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction in 16 of these 18 patients was 37%. Nonlimiting side effects occurred in seven patients (18%). Proarrhythmic effects were seen in four patients (10%).
At a mean follow-up time of 11 ± 3 months, 15 patients (39%) had had no recurrence, including 5 who had inducible sustained ventricular tachycardia and 5 who did not on retesting during treatment. In the 18 patients who received long-term therapy, 3 late deaths occurred, 1 of which was of arrhythmic origin. These data suggest that flecainide is effective in about 40% of patients with severe refractory ventricular arrhythmias. Its value as a single drug in the treatment of sudden cardiac death remains to be defined.
- Received August 28, 1984.
- Revision received April 30, 1985.
- Accepted May 17, 1985.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation