Polymorphous ventricular tachycardia associated with acute myocardial infarction.
BACKGROUND During a 2.9-year period, 11 patients developed polymorphous ventricular tachycardia 1-13 days after acute anterior (seven patients) or inferior (four patients) myocardial infarction. None of the 11 patients had sinus bradycardia (mean heart rate, 90 +/- 23 beats/min), but three had a sinus pause immediately before the onset of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia. In all 11 patients, the QT interval and corrected QT interval (QTc) were normal or minimally prolonged (QT, 385 +/- 34 msec; QTc, 442 +/- 40 msec). None had significant hypokalemia (mean serum potassium concentration, 4.3 +/- 0.5 meq/l) or a grossly abnormal serum magnesium or calcium concentration (2.1 +/- 0.4 and 8.9 +/- 0.7 mg/dl, respectively).
METHODS AND RESULTS Immediately before the onset of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia, symptoms and/or electrocardiographic changes consistent with recurrent myocardial ischemia occurred in nine of 11 patients. One patient died before drug therapy could be initiated. Lidocaine was used in 10 patients and proved to be effective in only one. Intravenous procainamide was used in six patients: one improved, and five had recurrence of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia. Bretylium was used in five patients and was ineffective in all cases. Overdrive pacing was used in four patients and failed to suppress recurrent arrhythmias in all cases. Four patients with persistent polymorphous ventricular tachycardia unresponsive to lidocaine, procainamide, or bretylium responded to intravenous amiodarone. One patient with polymorphous ventricular tachycardia that was consistently preceded by ST segment elevation responded to intravenous nitroglycerin. Two patients with persistent polymorphous ventricular tachycardia and obvious recurrent ischemia unresponsive to pharmacological intervention responded to emergency coronary revascularization. A third patient who experienced recurrent angina and polymorphous tachycardia was initially stabilized with pharmacological therapy but subsequently underwent elective revascularization and has remained stable without antiarrhythmic therapy.
CONCLUSIONS Post-myocardial infarction polymorphous ventricular tachycardia is not consistently related to an abnormally long QT interval, sinus bradycardia, preceding sinus pauses, or electrolyte abnormalities. This arrhythmia has a variable response to class I antiarrhythmics but may be suppressed by intravenous amiodarone therapy. It is often associated with signs or symptoms of recurrent myocardial ischemia. Furthermore, coronary revascularization appears to be effective in preventing the recurrence of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia when associated with recurrent postinfarction angina.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association