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Circulation. 1999 Dec 14;100(24):2431-6.

Long-term follow-up of patients with long-QT syndrome treated with beta-blockers and continuous pacing.

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  • 1Divisions of Electrophysiology and Pediatric Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



The long-QT syndrome is associated with sudden cardiac death. Combination of beta-blocker and pacing therapy has been proposed for treatment of drug-resistant patients. The purpose of this study was to summarize our long-term experience with combined therapy in patients with long-QT syndrome.


A total of 37 patients with idiopathic long-QT syndrome were treated with combined therapy consisting of continuous cardiac pacing and maximally tolerated beta-blocker therapy and followed up for 6.3+/-4. 6 years (mean+/-SD). The group consisted of 32 female and 5 male patients with a mean age of 31.6 years. The mean paced rate was 82+/-7 bpm (range, 60 to 100 bpm). On follow-up, recurrent symptoms caused by pacemaker malfunction were documented in 3 patients. Four patients died during the follow-up period: 2 adolescents stopped beta-blocker therapy, 1 patient died suddenly while treated with combined therapy, and 1 patient died of unrelated causes. In addition, 3 patients had resuscitated cardiac arrest while on combined therapy, and 1 patient had repeated, appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator discharges on follow-up.


Because 28 of 37 patients remain without symptoms with beta-blocker therapy and continuous pacing, combined therapy appears to provide reasonable, long-term control for this high-risk group. However, the incidence of sudden death and aborted sudden death (24% in all patients and 17% in compliant patients) strongly suggests the use of a "back-up" defibrillator, particularly in noncompliant adolescent patients. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy, however, may be associated with recurrent shocks in susceptible patients.

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