Effect of epinephrine on the efficacy of the internal cardioverter-defibrillator

João Sousa, William Kou, Hugh Calkins, Shimon Rosenheck, Alan Kadish, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


To evaluate the effect of sympathetic activation on the efficacy of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in converting ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF), 32 patients who received an ICD because of life-threatening VT/VF underwent 1 week postimplant ICD testing both before and after infusion of 25 (16 patients) or 50 (16 patients) ng/kg/min of epinephrine for ≥12 minutes. These infusion rates are known to result in plasma epinephrine concentrations comparable to mild-moderate stress. The patients' mean age was 63 ± 10 years; 26 had coronary artery disease, 2 had dilated cardiomyopathy and 4 had no evidence of structural heart disease. VT and VF were induced in 16 patients each by programmed stimulation or alternating current. Among the 16 patients with VT, the first ICD discharge (26 to 30 J) was effective in 15 patients in the baseline state and in all 16 patients during epinephrine infusion. Among patients with VF, the first ICD discharge (26 to 30 J) terminated VF in all patients in the baseline state, compared with 12 of 16 patients during epinephrine infusion (p < 0.05). In 4 patients, VF was terminated during epinephrine infusion only by the second or third ICD discharge (30 J). In conclusion, physiologic increases in the plasma epinephrine concentration may increase the number and energy of shocks needed to terminate VF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-512
Number of pages4
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 15 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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