Effects of intravenous adenosine on antegrade refractoriness of accessory atrioventricular connections.
BACKGROUND Several groups have suggested the use of intravenous adenosine or adenosine triphosphate in the diagnosis of regular broad complex tachycardias. However, the short half-life of these agents has precluded assessment of their effects on refractoriness of accessory connections, and their safety in preexcited arrhythmias has not been demonstrated.
METHODS AND RESULTS We examined the effects of intravenous adenosine on accessory atrioventricular (AV) connections in 30 patients with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Intravenous adenosine (12 mg, rapid bolus) was administered to 14 patients (group 1) during continuous atrial pacing at a cycle length 20 msec below that required to cause 2:1 conduction block in the accessory connection (mean pacing cycle length 261 +/- 41 msec). After adenosine, transient 1:1 conduction occurred via the accessory connection in 12 of 14 patients, indicating a shortening of antegrade refractoriness. In three of seven patients, this effect was abolished after intravenous propranolol (0.2 mg/kg). Nineteen patients (group 2) received adenosine (0.17 +/- 0.04 mg/kg) during induced, preexcited atrial arrhythmias. The minimum RR interval during preexcited atrial fibrillation transiently decreased (252 +/- 44 msec to 224 +/- 35 msec, p less than 0.01) after adenosine, but no change in average RR interval was observed (360 +/- 59 msec to 357 +/- 60 msec, NS). The preexcited ventricular response to atrial flutter was transiently accelerated in five of eight patients (415 +/- 21 msec to 360 +/- 49 msec, p less than 0.05) due to shortening of flutter cycle length (207 +/- 10 msec to 180 +/- 24 msec, p less than 0.05). However, 2:1 accessory connection conduction was maintained in all eight patients. All effects were short lived, with the decrease in RR interval during atrial fibrillation occurring for a maximum of two RR intervals only. No patient suffered ventricular arrhythmias or hemodynamic deterioration.
CONCLUSIONS Adenosine shortens antegrade refractoriness of accessory AV connections, and in some patients this action is mediated by beta-adrenergic stimulation. Adenosine may cause acceleration of preexcited atrial arrhythmias, but these effects are transient and should not discourage the use of adenosine as a diagnostic agent in broad complex, regular tachycardias of uncertain origin.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association