Changes in spontaneous variability of ventricular ectopic activity as a function of time in patients with chronic arrhythmias.
Previous determinations of spontaneous variability in ventricular arrhythmia have often been based on measurements from consecutive days in small patient populations, whereas clinical determinations of drug efficacy typically compare measurements at intervals of 1 week and longer to baseline. We, therefore, sought to determine whether spontaneous arrhythmia variability changes as a function of time during periods ranging from 1 day to 1 year or longer. The percent reduction in the frequency of total premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) and repetitive ventricular beats required to show true drug effect rather than spontaneous variability in PVCs was determined in 47 consecutive patients with chronic ventricular arrhythmias who underwent multiple ambulatory monitor recordings while off active drug treatment (during placebo therapy). The variability in PVC rate was determined during the intervals of 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, and 1 year or longer. The percent reductions in total PVCs required to exceed the 95% confidence limits of spontaneous variability at these intervals were 55%, 85%, 86%, 93%, 96%, and 96%, respectively. Corresponding values for repetitive beats were 75%, 95%, 92%, 95%, 94%, and 98%, respectively. The percent increase in total PVCs and repetitive beats required to establish "arrhythmia aggravation" caused by an antiarrhythmic drug with a 95% confidence limit also was calculated for this study population and was 124% and 303%, respectively, at 1-day intervals and 2,269% and 4,091%, respectively, at 1-year (or longer) intervals for the 24-hour monitor recordings. Variability was not substantially affected by underlying heart disease or ejection fraction. PVC rate showed a modest negative correlation with variability (r = 0.3). Thus, variability is substantially greater at 1 week, the usual time for clinical assessment of antiarrhythmic drug efficacy, than at 1 day (p less than 0.01). Suppression of more than 85% of total PVCs and more than 95% of repetitive beats appears to be necessary after 1-2 weeks to be confident of a true drug effect. Even greater variability is observed after 1 month and up to 1 year so that reductions of up to 95% in total PVCs and 98% in repetitive beats may represent spontaneous change.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association