Frequent ventricular tachycardias: antiarrhythmic drug treatment or catheter ablation?

Tanner, Hildegard; Hindricks, Gerhard; Kottkamp, Hans (2005). Frequent ventricular tachycardias: antiarrhythmic drug treatment or catheter ablation? Herz, 30(7), pp. 613-618. Springer-Medizin-Verlag 10.1007/s00059-005-2749-7

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Antiarrhythmic drugs are used in at least 50% of patients who received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). The potential indications for antiarrhythmic drug treatments in patients with an ICD are generally the following: reduction of the number of ventricular tachycardias (VTs) or episodes of ventricular fibrillation and therefore reduction of the number of ICD therapies, most importantly, the number of disabling ICD shocks. Accordingly, the quality of life should be improved and the battery life of the ICD extended. Moreover, antiarrhythmic drugs have the potential to increase the tachycardia cycle length to allow termination of VTs by antitachycardia pacing and reduction of the number of syncopes. In addition, supraventricular arrhythmias can be prevented or their rate controlled. Recently published or reported trials have shown the efficacy of amiodarone, sotalol and azimilide to significantly reduce the number of appropriate and inappropriate ICD shocks in patients with structural heart disease. However, the use of antiarrhythmic drugs may also have adverse effects: an increase in the defibrillation threshold, an excessive increase in the VT cycle length leading to detection failure. In this situation and when antiarrhythmic drugs are ineffective or have to be stopped because of serious side effects, catheter ablation of both monomorphic stable and pleomorphic and/or unstable VTs using modern electroanatomic mapping systems should be considered. The choice of antiarrhythmic drug treatment and the need for catheter ablation in ICD patients with frequent VTs should be individually tailored to specific clinical and electrophysiological features including the frequency, the rate, and the clinical presentation of the ventricular arrhythmia. Although VT mapping and ablation is becoming increasingly practical and efficacious, ablation of VT is mostly done as an adjunctive therapy in patients with structural heart disease and ICD experiencing multiple shocks, because the recurrence and especially the occurrence of "new" VTs after primarily successful ablation with time and disease progression have precluded a widespread use of catheter ablation as primary treatment.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology

UniBE Contributor:

Tanner, Hildegard


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Hildegard Tanner

Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2014 09:10

Last Modified:

17 Jul 2014 09:10

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