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Circulation. 2000 May 23;101(20):2398-404.

Heart rate dynamics at the onset of ventricular tachyarrhythmias as retrieved from implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in patients with coronary artery disease.

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Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.



The recent availability of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) that record 1024 R-R intervals preceding a ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VTA) provides a unique opportunity to analyze heart rate variability (HRV) before the onset of VTA.


Fifty-eight post-myocardial infarction patients with an implanted ICD for recurrent VTA provided 2 sets of 98 heart rate recordings in sinus rhythm: (1) before a VTA and (2) during control conditions. Three subgroups were considered according to the antiarrhythmic (AA) drug regimen. A state of sympathoexcitation was suggested by the significant reduction in HRV before VTA onset compared with control conditions. beta-Blockers and dl-sotalol enhanced HRV in control recordings; nevertheless, HRV declined before VTA independent of AA drugs. A gradual increase in heart rate and decrease in sinus arrhythmia at VTA onset were specific findings of patients who received dl-sotalol.


The peculiar heart rate dynamics observed before VTA onset are suggestive of a state of sympathoexcitation that is independent of AA drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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