The prevalence, characteristics and significance of ventricular arrhythmias detected by ambulatory electrocardiography were evaluated in 1,498 patients who were randomized to encainide, flecainide or placebo in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. The mean ventricular premature complex (VPC) frequency at baseline was 133 ± 257 VPCs/hour. Nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) (rate ≥120 beats/min) was present in 22% of patients. Accelerated idioventricular rhythm (rate <120 beats/min) occurred in 22% of subjects. There were 63 deaths/resuscitated cardiac arrests in the active treatment (encainide/flecainide) group and 26 in the placebo group. In the treatment group mortality increased with increasing VPC frequency, (p = 0.006), whereas in the placebo group such a relation was not present. Mortality/resuscitated cardiac arrest increased in patients with ≥2 VT episodes than in those with ≤1 episode in the active treatment group (p = 0.04). There was no significant association between VT and mortality/resuscitated cardiac arrest in the placebo group. The presence of accelerated idioventricular rhythm was not associated with increased mortality/resuscitated cardiac arrest in either the active treatment or placebo groups. However, mortality was lower in patients with accelerated idioventricular rhythm rates <100 beats/ min than in those with rates ≥100 beats/min (p = 0.05). Thus, in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial the previously described association between mortality/resuscitated cardiac arrest and ventricular arrhythmias (VPC and VT) were only observed in the active treatment group. In addition, based on the results obtained in this highly selected population, it is suggested that the definition of accelerated idioventricular rhythm should be a rate <100 beats/min, and at a rate ≥100 beats/min it should be categorized as VT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine