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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2010 Apr;55(4):391-8. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e3181d3dcc7.

Comparative study of nifekalant versus amiodarone for shock-resistant ventricular fibrillation in out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest patients.

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Department of Cardiology, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan.



In Japan, intravenous nifekalant (NIF) was often used for direct current cardioversion-resistant ventricular fibrillation (VF), until the use of intravenous amiodarone (AMD) was approved in 2007. The defibrillatory efficacy of NIF and AMD has thus far not been compared for resuscitation.


Between August 2007 and April 2009, 403 consecutive out-of-hospital patients with cardiopulmonary arrest were transferred to the Emergency Medical Service of Tokai University. Of these, 30 patients with first defibrillation failure or VF recurrence were enrolled for this NIF/AMD study. The final defibrillation success (and hospital survival rate) was 67% (10/15) in the AMD and 47% (7/15) in the NIF group. The discharge survival rate was 53% (8/15) in the AMD and 21% (4/15) in the NIF group (P = 0.06). Notably, all 4 survivors in the NIF group could take up normal daily life again, whereas this was restricted to only 2 patients from the 11 survivors in the AMD group. The difference is probably partly attributable to longer time from AMD administration to defibrillation success compared with NIF. In the cases of defibrillation failure, VF continued in 4/8 by NIF, however, asystole or pulseless electrical activity occurred in 4/5 patients by AMD.


AMD may be borderline superior over NIF to facilitate defibrillation in out-of-hospital patients with cardiopulmonary arrest. However, from the view point of preservation of brain function, NIF is not inferior to AMD for CPR.

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