Effects of Diphenylhydantoin on Atrioventricular Conduction in Man
The effects of intravenous diphenylhydantoin (5 mg/kg) on atrioventricular conduction in man at controlled heart rates in the digitalized and undigitalized state were studied. In undigitalized subjects, diphenylhydantoin administration consistently decreased A-V conduction time in each individual subject when identical heart rates were compared. Ouabain infusion produced an increase in A-V conduction time and this prolongation was always reversed by diphenylhydantoin. In two patients with atrial flutter and in two with atrial fibrillation, diphenylhydantoin caused a decrease in ventricular rate without affecting the atrial arrhythmias.
These findings are of clinical importance, especially in the therapy of digitalis toxicity. When digitalis excess is manifested by both ectopic beats and incomplete A-V block, diphenylhydantoin would have special utility since, in contrast with the commonly used antiarrhythmic agents, it decreases A-V conduction time in addition to suppressing ectopic beats. Diphenylhydantoin-induced depression of the ventricular rate in atrial flutter or fibrillation may also be useful clinically. However, since diphenylhydantoin markedly decreases ventricular automaticity, its use in patients with complete heart block is contraindicated.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.