Class IC antiarrhythmic drugs for suspected premature ventricular contraction–induced cardiomyopathy


      Class IC antiarrhythmic drugs (IC-AADs) can effectively suppress premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). However, IC-AADs increase mortality in patients with PVCs and left ventricular dysfunction after myocardial infarction. Whether IC-AADs can be safely used to treat premature ventricular contraction–induced cardiomyopathy (PVC-CM) remains to be established.


      The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of IC-AADs in patients suspected of having PVC-CM.


      The electronic medical records at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania were screened to identify all patients suspected of having PVC-CM treated with flecainide or propafenone. Clinical, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies were reviewed.


      Twenty patients suspected of having PVC-CM were treated with IC-AADs. Patients had undergone an average of 1.3 ± 0.2 previous unsuccessful ablations. Six had an implantable or wearable defibrillator. With IC-AAD treatment, mean PVC burden decreased from 36.2% ± 3.5% to 10.0% ± 2.4% (P <.001). Mean left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) increased from 37.4% ± 2.0% to 49.0% ± 1.9% (P <.001). Seven patients with myocardial delayed enhancement on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (all <5% of the total myocardium) experienced similar improvement in LVEF (from 36.8% ± 4.3% before IC-AAD to 51.7% ± 3.7% afterward; P <.01). Over an average 3.8 ± 0.9 treatment-years, no sustained ventricular arrhythmias or sudden cardiac deaths occurred.


      In patients suspected of having PVC-CM, IC-AADs effectively suppressed PVCs, leading to LVEF recovery in the majority. No adverse events occurred in this small cohort.


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