Termination of ventricular tachycardia by carotid sinus massage.
Intracardiac electrophysiologic studies were performed in two patients who had recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia. In both, the tachycardia was repeatedly terminated by carotid massage. In one patient, intracardiac electrophysiologic studies revealed ventricular tachycardia with 2:1 retrograde ventriculoatrial (VA) block. Carotid massage resulted in alternate Wenckebach retrograde VA conduction terminated by ventricular echo beats. When ventricular echo beats occurred at a coupling interval of 340 - 400 msec, the tachycardia was terminated. Similarly, induced atrial depolarizations (during ventricular tachycardia) produced ventricular capture and terminated the tachycardia when the resultant ventricular coupling interval was 330 - 395 msec. In the second patient, progressively premature atrial or ventricular depolarizations did not terminate the tachycardia. carotid massage had no consistent effect on retrograde VA conduction during ventricular tachycardia, but usually resulted in gradual increases in the tachycardia cycle length (50 - 100 msec) before abrupt termination of the tachycardia. This is the first report documenting termination of ventricular tachycardia by carotid massage alone (i.e., without prior drug intervention); hence, tachycardia termination by simple carotid sinus massage does not prove a supraventricular origin. The mechanism of tachycardia termination was due to ventricular echo beats from retrograde atrioventricular nodal reentry in one patient and to direct vagal effects on either the ventricular muscle or the ventricular specialized conduction system in the other.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association