Clinical efficacy and electrophysiology of imipramine for ventricular tachycardia
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Invasive electrophysiologic studies were performed before and during treatment with imipramine in 18 patients with inducible ventricular tachycardia (VT). All received imipramine, 50 mg twice daily for 3 days, and then 100 mg twice daily for 3 days. Imipramine increased the infranodal conduction times (HV) (from 58 +/- 7.8 to 65 +/- 10 ms) and QRS duration (from 133 +/- 21 to 153 +/- 39 ms) and significantly decreased sinus cycle length (from 875 +/- 145 to 711 +/- 116 ms) and maximal corrected sinus nodal recovery time (from 457 +/- 656 to 380 +/- 603 ms). The Wenckebach cycle length tended to decrease and the QT interval to increase, but these changes were not statistically significant. Atrial and ventricular refractory periods, atrioventricular nodal conduction times and induced VT cycle length did not change significantly. Imipramine prevented induction of VT in 2 patients, and VT was more difficult to induce in 1 patient. These 3 patients received chronic imipramine therapy. The 2 patients in whom no VT could be induced while taking imipramine have had no recurrence of arrhythmia at 6 and 12 months of follow-up. The third patient died suddenly 4 months after discharge from the hospital. One patient had worsening of arrhythmias while taking imipramine and 61% had minor adverse effects. The mean combined plasma imipramine and desmethylimipramine concentration at the time of the repeat electrophysiologic study was 227 +/- 114 ng/ml. Imipramine is effective against VT in some patients; however, like other type I antiarrhythmic drugs, the rate of efficacy is low.
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