A new method for evaluating antiarrhythmic drug efficacy.
To develop standards for distinguishing antiarrhythmic drug effect from spontaneous variability of premature ventricular complexes (PVCs), 21 males (mean age 56 +/- 8 years) with chronic ischemic heart disease and PVCs underwent symptom-limited treadmill exercise testing and 24-hour ambulatory monitoring before and after 2 weeks of placebo medication. Linear regression analysis was used to describe the relationship between baseline and placebo PVC frequency for various indexes of ventricular ectopic activity and to establish 95% and 99% one-tailed confidence intervals for this relationship within the group of 21 patients. The lower limit of baseline PVC frequency for which the procedure could distinguish a placebo from a true drug response, termed the "sensitivity threshold," was an average frequency of 2.2 PVCs/hour for ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring and 1.2 PVCs/min for treadmill exercise testing. All patients exceeded the sensitivity threshold on baseline ambulatory ECGs, but only 38% of patients did so on baseline treadmill exercise tests. To establish antiarrhythmic efficacy with 95% confidence, the minimal percent reduction of PVCs between baseline and placebo visits was 68% for treadmill exercise testing and 65% for ambulatory electrocardiography. Although these standards were developed in patients with chronic ischemic heart disease, the model can be used to establish antiarrhythmic drug efficacy in any patient group.
- Copyright © 1980 by American Heart Association