Survivors of cardiac arrest: Prevention of recurrence by drug therapy as predicted by electrophysiologic testing or electrocardiographic monitoring

Brian T. Skale, William M. Miles, James J. Heger, Douglas P. Zipes, Eric N. Prystowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Scopus citations


Sixty-two patients (44 men and 18 women, aged 15 to 75 years) resuscitated from at least 1 cardiac arrest unrelated to acute myocardial infarction were studied. No patient was taking antiarrhythmic drugs at the time of the initial cardiac arrest. Thirty-five patients had coronary artery disease (CAD) and 27 did not. Before drug therapy, control electrophysiologic studies induced ventricular tachycardia (VT) in 43 of 58 patients (74%) (30 of 35 with CAD and 17 of 27 without CAD). At control continuous electrocardiographic monitoring for 48 hours or longer, only 19 of 62 patients (31%) had spontaneous VT, 5 of whom had no VT induced at control electrophysiologic study. Mean follow-up was 22 months. Fourteen of 41 patients, 8 of 25 with and 6 of 16 without CAD, had VT suppressed with drugs during serial electrophysiologic testing, and none had a recurrent arrhythmic event. VT was suppressed in 12 of 14 patients receiving conventional drugs. Of 27 patients with VT induced during all drug studies, 6 died from cardiac arrest and 4 had recurrent VT. Drug efficacy in 20 patients was guided by continuous electrocardiographic monitoring, and 4 of 9 patients in whom VT and ventricular pairs were suppressed by drug therapy, as documented by continuous electrocardiographic monitoring for 48 hours or longer, died of cardiac arrest. Overall, 26 patients were discharged receiving amiodarone therapy, and 5 died of cardiac arrest and 3 had recurrent sustained VT. It is concluded that in survivors of cardiac arrest, suppression of inducible VT during electrophysiologic testing predicts a favorable outcome, whereas suppression of spontaneous VT and repetitive beats during continuous electrocardiographic monitoring often is associated with recurrence of cardiac arrest. Further, the risk of recurrence cardiac arrest or sustained VT is substantial if VT is initiated at electrophysiologic study, even during amiodarone therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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