Effect of shock timing on efficasy and safety of internal cardioversion for ventricular tachycardia Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: We examined the effect of shock timing within the QRS complex on cardioversion efficacy in a randomized crossover test of shocks delivered at two timing intervals relative to QRS onset. BACKGROUND: The local ventricular electrogram is used in implantable cardioverter-defibrillators to synchronize cardioversion shocks to terminate ventricular tachycardia. However, the timing of the local electrogram relative to global ventricular depolarization is variable, depending on the site of ventricular tachycardia origin. METHODS: Transvenous defibrillation leads were positioned in the right ventricular apex (cathode), coronary sinus and superior vena cava (anodes) of patients with sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia. After repeat ventricular tachycardia induction, sequential shocks with energy settings of 0.5 to 22 J were delivered simultaneously with QRS onset (QRS + 0 shock) or 100 ms after QRS onset (QRS + 100 shock). QRS onset was determined from the surface electrocardiogram. Cardioversion threshold, defined as the lowest shock energy for successful ventricular tachycardia termination, was measured for these two timings. RESULTS: Fifteen patients (13 men, 2 women; mean [+/- SD] age 60.5 +/- 7.7 years) completed testing. Cardioversion threshold was significantly lower with QRS + 100 shocks than QRS + 0 shocks (3.1 +/- 3.5 vs. 10.5 +/- 7.4 J, p < 0.01). Thirteen patients (87%) experienced ventricular tachycardia acceleration with QRS + 0 shocks, but only three patients (20%) had ventricular tachycardia acceleration using QRS + 100 shocks (p < 0.01). Of the 32 failed QRS + 0 shocks, 25 (78%) caused ventricular tachycardia acceleration, whereas only 5 (36%) of the 14 failed QRS + 100 shocks caused ventricular tachycardia acceleration (p < 0.05). Cardioversion threshold was not correlated with ventricular tachycardia cycle length, QRS duration, left ventricular ejection fraction or left ventricular diastolic volume (p = NS). CONCLUSIONS: Internal cardioversion shocks delivered late in the QRS complex during ventricular tachycardia are more effective and have a lower risk of ventricular tachycardia acceleration than those delivered near QRS onset.


  • Li, Huagui G
  • Yee, Raymond
  • Mehra, Rahul
  • DeGroot, Paul
  • Klein, George J
  • Zardini, Marco
  • Thakur, Ranjan K
  • Morillo, Carlos Arturo

publication date

  • September 1994

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