Rapid suppression of complex ventricular arrhythmias with high-dose oral amiodarone.
Although amiodarone is effective for the suppression of complex ventricular arrhythmias, a major problem with its use is the long delay between the initiation of therapy and the onset of effective suppression of arrhythmia. To test the hypothesis that rapid loading with oral amiodarone to a target serum concentration can overcome much of this delay, eight patients with refractory, sustained, hemodynamically compromising ventricular arrhythmias and 10 patients with potentially life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias were treated with a flexible, very high dose, oral loading protocol (800 to 2000 mg two to three times a day). Dosage was adjusted on the basis of amiodarone serum concentrations to maintain the trough serum concentrations between 2.0 and 3.0 micrograms/ml. Comparison of 24 hr Holter electrocardiograms obtained before and during therapy revealed statistically significant reductions in premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) and paired PVCs beginning the first day of therapy and a reduction in ventricular tachycardia (VT) beginning the second day. By day 2, four of eight patients with sustained VT and six of 10 patients with nonsustained VT showed no VT. Pulmonary arterial catheterization during the first 24 hr (mean amiodarone dose 3933 mg) revealed no significant hemodynamic alterations. Minor side effects were common (10 patients) but major side effects were rare (one patient). High-dose oral loading with amiodarone utilizing serum concentration guidelines is a safe and effective method of rapidly controlling life-threatening arrhythmias in selected patients.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association