Posts Tagged ‘rate control’

                                         Ventricular  tachycardia is considered as a dangerous electrical rhythm abnormality .It can immediately degenrate into ventricular fibrillation and result in SCD in many.Ironically, it is also a fact , a patient with VT can  present silently  without any symptom  .Some VTs are slow and recurrent without much affecting The hemodyanmics.


In chronic recurrent, beningn VT (Some may consider it , ” height of  absurdity ” to call a VT beningn ! but it  is a reality , the term beningn denotes –  very remote chance of converting into VF) ” Is there any other therapeutic option other than convertng into sinus rhythm. “(  Read related topics)


The following paper was presented in the Annual scientific sessions of  Cardiological society of India,  Kochi , seven years ago in  2002



S.Venkatesan,,. Madras Medical College. Chennai


                           Mangement of  hemodynamically  stable  recurrent   ventricular tachycardia  remains a  delicate clinical problem. Reverting to  sinus rhythm  is  considered as  the only aim  of  treating  VT.While rate control is accepted as a therapeutic  option  in atrial fibrillation,  it is not  so,  for  ventricular tachycardia.In this  context  we attempted to analyse  the effect of  Amiodarone on   ventricular  rate  in stable ventricular tachycardia  which fail to convert  to sinus rhythm.


                            The  study cohort consisted of 49 patients with stable VT  who were admitted in the coronary care unit  of  Govt. General Hospital  between 1998 to 2002.The criteria for inclusion   were systolic BP>100mmHg and absence of  hypoperfusion of vital organs  The mean age was 52 years (range 26-68)  with a male female ratio  of 4:1.   Of the study group 36 patients  were either reverted with  IV lignocaine , Amiodarone ( 150-300mg   bolus )  or  DC  cardioversion . 13  patients  who did not respond to   either of these   were  followed up  with  Amiodaroneinfusion(1000mg)  for 24 hours.  The baseline  diagnosis were old MI (6)) DCM (3)  Arrhythmogenic RV displasia(2). Idiopathic VT was diagnosed in  2 patients.All these patients had  VT  during  most part of  the   24 hour  follow up.


                         The pre Amiodarone mean  ventricular rate was  152  (124 –196).  Post amiadaorne (at 24hrs) mean ventricular rate was 128(88-142). The time taken for   50% heart  rate reduction was  6.6h (4-24h).  The average  systolic blood pressure  improved from  100   to  112mmhg . These patients were  discharged  in stable clinical status with oral Amiodarone and  were  referred for  EP study.


                          It is concluded that Amiodarone, apart from it’s cardioverting ability , has a distinct ventricular  rate controlling  effect  which  can be of therapeutic value in  at least certain subset of chronic recurrent VT.

Final message


Some of  the patients  with VT carry a very low risk of VF  and SCD .In these  patients , the only  other major  aim is to prevent tachycardiac cardiomyopathy  that can be done with drugs which  controls  the ventricular rate whenever  VT occurs !

Corrrecting the primary cause like cardiac failire , revascularisation ,detailed EP study  ,tachycardia mapping , followed by RF ablation and ICD implantation is  the state of the art approch in the management of VTs.But this small clinical observation was made to  impress rate control could also be an option  in patients  in whom these procedures are  contraindicated  or not  available . 


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The debate of rate control verses rhythm control in atrial fibrillation  goes on and on. The AFFIRM, RACE,PIAF, STAF the HOT CAFE all went against sinus rhythm in the last 10 years . This was one of the settled contoversies in cardiology . The conclusion was ventricular  rate control was no way inferior to rhythm control in patients with SHT, CAD population .This made the electrophyiologists wonder how can a natural rhythm fare bad ! . But the findings  were consistent .Rhythm control neither improved the quality of life nor  it reduced the incidence of stroke. The later finding was very surprising but the explanation was convincing as stroke in elderly was more related to SHT, CAD, DM etc than  AF itself. The source of emboli in ischemic stroke could come any where distal to LA .The big assumtion that all strokes in elderly  should come from LA appendage or the body  of LA was  premature and  wrong. What prevented stroke in AF was not restoration of SR but administration of oral anticoagulants with adequate INR.(2-3)

Having failed to document superiority in elderly  population   , the  logic machine  strongly suggested restoring SR  in patients with CHF,  will atleast provide hemodynamic and also survival  benefit .

And thus came the AF-CHF trial  published in NEJM 2008

Alas !  AF-CHF  also found there is no useful purpose of restoring sinus rhythm in patients  with atrial fibrillation and cardiac failure. In fact patients in SR fared little worse !

 Why . . .  why . . . why ?

Should we ask the seemingly absurd question !

Is sinus rhythm poorly tolerated by cardiac failure  patients ?

It is some times possible atrial fibrillation by itself could be a mechanism to amplify the  cardiac reserve by which it provides a  relatively high ventricular rate to improve the cardiac index  . Even though the optimal ventricular rate in AF is around 80-90 at times of need it has to increase to 120-130. Patients in class 3 CHF and AF often achieve this in times of demand .This is not possible in patients who are getting rhythm control drugs and further patients in SR can  not increase the HR suddenly from 80 -130  .

So is this a  wild imagination !   AF could be a safety valve mechanism in CHF to increase the HR . Where the atria come to the rescue of ventricle like a rate adaptive pacemaker .

The other logical* ! argument is that  there  is nothing wrong with restoring  SR , but the  methods to achieve and  maintain SR  is too cumbersome and results in adverse outcome .The currently available  drugs are too toxic for the purpose  .

If we have a simple and safe way to restore SR in these patients it should always be superior to AF .

But it is a well  known fact  that , whatever be the rhythm or rate the ultimate outcome will be dictated by the LV function, mitral valve function etc.

 Read abstract of AF-CHF

Rhythm Control versus Rate Control for Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure

Denis Roy, M.D., Mario Talajic, M.D., Stanley Nattel, M.D., ., for the Atrial Fibrillation and Congestive Heart Failure Investigators


Rhythm Control versus Rate Control for Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure

Denis Roy, M.D., Mario Talajic, M.D., Stanley Nattel, M.D.,  the Atrial Fibrillation and Congestive Heart Failure Investigators* –>ABSTRACT

Background It is common practice to restore and maintain sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure. This approach is based in part on data indicating that atrial fibrillation is a predictor of death in patients with heart failure and suggesting that the suppression of atrial fibrillation may favorably affect the outcome. However, the benefits and risks of this approach have not been adequately studied. Methods We conducted a multicenter, randomized trial comparing the maintenance of sinus rhythm (rhythm control) with control of the ventricular rate (rate control) in patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less, symptoms of congestive heart failure, and a history of atrial fibrillation. The primary outcome was the time to death from cardiovascular causes.
Results A total of 1376 patients were enrolled (682 in the rhythm-control group and 694 in the rate-control group) and were followed for a mean of 37 months. Of these patients, 182 (27%) in the rhythm-control group died from cardiovascular causes, as compared with 175 (25%) in the rate-control group (hazard ratio in the rhythm-control group, 1.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.30; P=0.59 by the log-rank test). Secondary outcomes were similar in the two groups, including death from any cause (32% in the rhythm-control group and 33% in the rate-control group), stroke (3% and 4%, respectively), worsening heart failure (28% and 31%), and the composite of death from cardiovascular causes, stroke, or worsening heart failure (43% and 46%). There were also no significant differences favoring either strategy in any predefined subgroup.
Conclusions In patients with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, a routine strategy of rhythm control does not reduce the rate of death from cardiovascular causes, as compared with a rate-control strategy.








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