Send to

Choose Destination
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther. 2017;49(5):419-429. doi: 10.5603/AIT.a2017.0061. Epub 2017 Nov 18.

Management of arrhythmia in sepsis and septic shock.

Author information

Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague, Czechia.


The occurrence of supraventricular arrhythmias is associated with an unfavourable prognosis in septic shock. Available trials are difficult to apply in sepsis and septic shock patients due to included cohorts, control groups and because "one size does not fit all". The priorities in the critically ill are maintenance of the sinus rhythm and diastolic ventricular filling. The rate control modality should be reserved for chronic AF and in situations when the sinus rhythm is difficult to maintain due to extreme stress conditions resulting from a high dosage of vasoactive agents. Electric cardioversion is indicated in unstable patients with an absence of contraindications and is more feasible in combination with an antiarrhythmic agent. Besides amiodarone being preferred for its lower cardiodepressant side effect compared to other agents, drugs with a different degree of betablocking activity are very useful in supraventricular arrhythmias and septic shock, providing echocardiography is routinely used to support their indications within the current summary of product characteristics. A typical patient benefiting from propafenone is without significant structural heart disease, i.e. typically with normal to moderately reduced left ventricular systolic function. Future research should be channelled towards echocardiography-guided prospective controlled trials on antiarrhythmic therapy which may clarify the issue of rhythm versus rate control, the effects of various antiarrhythmic drugs, and a place for electric cardioversion in critically ill patients in septic shock.


amiodarone; atrial fibrillation; betablockers; electric cardioversion; esmolol; metoprolol; propafenone; septic shock; supraventricular arrhythmia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Via Medica Medical Publishers
Loading ...
Support Center