Author + information
- Received July 23, 1985
- Revision received December 25, 1985
- Accepted January 13, 1986
- Published online June 1, 1986.
- Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, MD, FACCa,
- Thomas Barnard, MD,
- Lynne Johnson, MD,
- Alan L. Saroff, MD, FACC,
- J. Thomas Bigger Jr., MD, FACC and
- May Louie, BA
- ↵aAddress for reprints: Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, MD, Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032.
The effect of nortriptyline against ventricular arrhythmias was determined in 16 cardiac patients with 30 or more ventricular premature depolarizations per hour. Nortriptyline was administered orally, 0.5 mg/kg body weight per day, and increased by 0.5 mg/kg per day every third day until ventricular premature depolarizations were suppressed (≥80%), adverse effects occurred or a total daily dose of 3.5 mg/kg per day was given. Each patient had daily 24 hour continuous electrocardiograms, 12 lead standard electrocardiograms and physical examination; blood pressure was measured in the supine and standing position four times a day. Each patient also had radionuclide angiography at rest to measure ejection fraction before and at the effective or maximal dose. Thirteen patients (81%) had an antiarrhythmic response and 11 met the study criterion of at least 80% improvement. Doses ranged from 50 to 200 mg/day (mean 111 ± 45), steady state plasma concentration ranged from 46 to 410 ng/ml (mean 153 ± 96) and half-life of elimination of nortriptyline was 4 to 22 hours (mean 13 ± 4). Administration of nortriptyline did not depress mean ejection fraction (before 42 ± 12%, after 41 ± 12%); it was associated with an orthostatic decrease in systolic blood pressure (mean -13 ± 13 mm Hg). Nortriptyline is an effective antiarrhythmic agent which may be given twice a day even in patients with impaired ventricular function.
This study was supported in part by a grant-in-aid from the American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas, by Grant HL-27206 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland and by Grant RR-00645 from the Research Resources Administration, Bethesda, Maryland.
- Received July 23, 1985.
- Revision received December 25, 1985.
- Accepted January 13, 1986.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation