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Heart Rhythm. 2007 Sep;4(9):1149-54. Epub 2007 May 24.

Calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers versus beta-blockers alone for preventing exercise-induced arrhythmias in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.

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Department of Cardiology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.



The mainstay of therapy for catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is maximal doses of beta-blockers. However, although beta-blockers prevent exercise-induced ventricular tachycardia (VT), most patients continue to have ventricular ectopy during exercise, and some studies report high mortality rates despite beta-blockade.


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether combining a calcium channel blocker with beta-blockers would prevent ventricular arrhythmias during exercise better than beta-blockers alone since the mutations causing CPVT lead to intracellular calcium overload.


Five patients with CPVT and one with polymorphic VT (PVT) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who had exercise-induced ventricular ectopy despite beta-blocker therapy were studied. Symptom-limited exercise was first performed during maximal beta-blocker therapy and repeated after addition of oral verapamil.


When comparing exercise during beta-blockers with exercise during beta-blockers + verapamil, exercise-induced arrhythmias were reduced: (1) Three patients had nonsustained VT on beta-blockers, and none of them had VT on combination therapy. (2) The number of ventricular ectopics during the whole exercise test went down from 78 +/- 59 beats to 6 +/- 8 beats; the ratio of ventricular ectopic to sinus beats during the 10-second period recorded at the time of the worst ventricular arrhythmia went down from 0.9 +/- 0.4 to 0.2 +/- 0.2. One patient with recurrent spontaneous VT leading to multiple shocks from her implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) despite maximal beta-blocker therapy (14 ICD shocks over 6 months while on beta-blockers) has remained free of arrhythmias (for 7 months) since the addition of verapamil therapy.


This preliminary evidence suggests that beta-blockers and calcium blockers could be better than beta-blockers alone for preventing exercise-induced arrhythmias in CPVT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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