Twelve cardiac electrophysiology centers conducted an open label prospective trial of bethanidine sulfate, an oral bretylium analog, for the prevention of ventricular tachyarrhythmias during programmed electrical stimulation. The study group included 56 patients (44 men, 12 women; mean age 60 years; 55 with structural heart disease). Sixteen patients had both ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation, 30 had ventricular tachycardia alone and 10 had ventricular fibrillation alone. Programmed stimulation on no antiarrhythmic drugs induced sustained ventricular tachycardia in 46 patients, nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in 4 patients and ventricular fibrillation in 6 patients. During programmed ventricular stimulation after 59 trials of 20 to 30 mg/kg body weight of oral bethanidine (acute dosing in 40 patients, and divided dosing over 24 hours in 19 patients), no ventricular tachyarrhythmias were inducible in 6 patients (11 %), sustained ventricular tachycardia was converted to nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in 3 patients (5%), ventricular tachyarrhythmias remained inducible in 39 patients (70%) and spontaneous ventricular tachyarrhythmias occurred more frequently in 4 patients (7%). Side effects prevented repeat testing in four patients. The 10 patients presenting with only ventricular fibrillation appeared to have a higher response rate: no ventricular tachyarrhythmias were inducible in 2 patients and sustained ventricular tachycardia was converted to nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in 2 patients. Despite protriptyline administration in 54 of 59 bethanidine trials, symptomatic hypotension occurred in 30 trials (51%). In conclusion, the efficacy of bethanidine for preventing ventricular tachyarrhythmias as assessed by programmed stimulation is low. Patients presenting with only ventricular fibrillation may have a more favorable response to bethanidine sulfate. Symptomatic hypotension occurs frequently despite concomitant use of protriptyline.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine