Torsades de pointes in 3 patients with leukemia treated with arsenic trioxide

Dilip Unnikrishnan, Janice P. Dutcher, Nikita Varshneya, Richard Lucariello, Marietta Api, Susan Garl, Peter H. Wiernik, Salvatore Chiaramida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Arsenic trioxide is used in clinical trials in the treatment of relapsed and resistant cases of acute promyelocytic leukemia. Adverse effects from arsenic in these studies have been multisystemic. Arsenic is known to cause corrected QT-interval prolongation and T-wave changes, but the potential for serious ventricular arrhythmias is less well understood. Torsades de pointes, a form of ventricular tachycardia, has been reported with arsenic poisoning but not at therapeutic doses used in protocols for hematologic malignancies. We describe 3 patients in whom this arrhythmia developed while they were treated with arsenic trioxide. Early recognition of the arrhythmia or correction of contributory factors is important because arsenic induced ventricular arrhythmias ere known to be resistant to most chemical methods and electrical cardioversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1514-1516
Number of pages3
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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