A prospective randomized repeat-crossover comparison of antitachycardia pacing with low-energy cardioversion.
BACKGROUND Multiprogrammable antiarrhythmia devices can treat monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) with autodecremental overdrive pacing and/or with low-energy cardioversion. These two methods provide the opportunity to decrease patient discomfort typically experienced with high-energy pulses. Although both therapies are known to be effective, controversy persists over their relative safety and efficacy.
METHODS AND RESULTS The purpose of this study was to examine the safety and efficacy of autodecremental overdrive pacing and low-energy cardioversion in reproducibly terminating monomorphic VT in 24 patients with multiprogrammable antiarrhythmia devices. The protocol required that identical ECG morphology VT be reproducibly induced four times to assess the outcome of antitachycardia pacing and cardioversion twice for each patient in a randomized fashion. Each episode of VT was induced via the implanted device. Autodecremental overdrive pacing initially began with seven stimuli at 97% of the VT cycle length, decrementing by 10 msec per stimulus to a minimum coupling interval of 200 msec. If ineffective, autodecremental overdrive pacing was allowed to iterate three more times for a total of four pacing interventions. With each iteration, one stimulus was added to the pacing train. Similarly, with low-energy cardioversion, up to four therapeutic attempts were made, beginning with a 0.2-J pulse. If ineffective, pulse energy was increased to 0.4, 1.0, and finally 2.0 J. All interventions were automatic without human interference. VT (cycle length, 306 +/- 42 msec) was repeatedly terminated in 15 of 24 patients (63%) by autodecremental overdrive pacing and in 18 of 24 patients (75%) by low-energy cardioversion (p = 0.53). Eight of the 24 patients (33%) had their VT terminated repeatedly by both therapies. VT accelerated to faster VT or ventricular fibrillation by autodecremental overdrive pacing in four of 24 patients (17%) and by low-energy cardioversion in five of 24 (21%) (p = 0.88). Only one of the 24 patients (4%) accelerated with both therapies. No patient was unaffected by either therapy.
CONCLUSIONS In the manner programmed, autodecremental overdrive pacing and low-energy cardioversion have similar efficacy and acceleration rates. Response to one therapy does not predict response to the other.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association