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Adenosine-Induced Ventricular Arrhythmias in Patients with Supraventricular Tachycardias

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Background: Adenosine is widely used for the diagnosis and the termination of supraventricular arrhythmias. There are many case reports and few series about the proarrhythmic potential of adenosine. We sought to evaluate the proarrhythmic potential of adenosine used to terminate the supraventricular arrhythmias.

Methods: The records of all patients that received adenosine for the termination of supraventricular tachycardia were reviewed retrospectively and those with a continuous electrocardiographic (ECG) recording during adenosine administration were included to the study.

Results: Our search identified 52 supraventricular episodes of 46 patients with a continuous ECG recording during adenosine administration. Following adenosine administration, premature ventricular contraction (PVC) or ventricular tachycardia (VT) developed in 22 (47.8%) patients and in 26 (50%) tachycardia episodes. No patient had a sustained VT. Nonsustained VT developed in eight (17.4%) patients. All VT episodes were polymorphic, short, and self-terminating. When the basal and demographic properties of patients with PVC or VT and those without PVT or VT were compared, there was no significant difference.

Conclusions: Adenosine is a quite safe and effective drug for the termination of narrow QRS complex tachycardia but it often induces nonsustained VT or PVC that are clinically insignificant in the absence of other accompanying heart disease.

Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol 2008;13(4):386–390
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Keywords: adenosine; proarrhythmia; supraventricular arrhythmia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Başkent University, School of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, Ankara, Turkey

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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