Management of Nonsustained Ventricular Tachycardia Guided By Electrophysiological Testing


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Two hundred eighty patients with spontaneous nonsusfained ventricular tachycardia were treated based on the results of electrophysiological testing. Seventy‐nine patients had no evidence of structural heart disease, 134 had coronary artery disease, 43 had idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, and 24 patients had miscellaneous types of heart disease. Sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia was induced during electrophysiological testing in the drug free state in 52 of 280 patients (19%). Ventricular tachycardia was induced more frequently in patients with coronary artery disease (32%) than in any of the other groups (P < 0.001). The patients with inducible sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia underwent a mean of 1.9 ± 1.3 drug trials. Twenty‐five patients had the induction of ventricular tachycardia suppressed by pharmacological therapy and were treated with the drug judged to be effective during electropharmacological testing. Twenty‐seven patients continued to have inducible sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia despite antiarrhythmic therapy and were discharged on the drug that made induced ventricular tachycardia best tolerated. Forty‐five of 280 patients (16.1%) died during a mean follow‐up period of 19.6 ± 14.4 months, There were 15 sudden cardiac deaths, 21 nonsudden cardiac deaths, 6 noncardiac deaths, and 3 deaths that could not be classified. Sudden cardiac death mortality was lowest in the patients without structural heart disease (0% at 2 years), intermediate in the patients with coronary artery disease and miscellaneous heart disease (4% al 2 years), and highest in the patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (13% at 2 years; P < 0.01 for pairwise comparisons). No patient treated with a drug that had suppressed the induction of sustained ventricular tachycardia died suddenly during the follow‐up period whereas four of 27 patients who were discharged on “ineffective antiarrhythmic drugs” and 11 of 228 patients without inducible sustained ventricular tachycardia experienced sudden cardiac death during the follow‐up period. By multivariate analysis, ejection fraction and inducible ventricular tachycardia during the predischarge eiectrophysiological test were independent predictors of sudden cardiac death. In conclusion, in patients with spontaneous nonsustained ventricular tachycardia: (1) Arrhythmia inducibility varies depending on the underlying heart disease. Ventricular tachycardia is most often inducible in patients with coronary artery disease and least often in patients without structural heart disease; (2) With the exception of patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, management of patients with nonsustained ventricular tachycardia guided by electrophysiological testing appears to result in a low incidence of sudden cardiac death although effects on total mortality are less impressive; and (3) Patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and patients with other heart diseases who continue to have inducible ventricular tachycardia despite antiarrhythmic drug therapy are at substantial risk of sudden cardiac death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1050
Number of pages14
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • ejection fraction
  • sudden cardiac death
  • ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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