Sotalol versus amiodarone for postoperative junctional tachycardia after congenital heart surgery

Published:November 18, 2021DOI:


      Junctional ectopic tachycardia (JET) is a common arrhythmia after congenital heart disease surgery. There is variability in the choice of antiarrhythmic therapy, with amiodarone used commonly. Intravenous (IV) sotalol is a newly available agent that may be useful for JET.


      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of IV sotalol for postoperative JET and compare outcomes with IV amiodarone.


      This is a retrospective single-center study of all patients who received IV sotalol or IV amiodarone for postoperative JET at Texas Children’s Hospital from December 15, 2015, to December 15, 2020. Data included antiarrhythmic efficacy, hemodynamics, and adverse effects. Successful JET control was defined as a decrease in JET rate to <170 beats/min (or decrease by >20%), or conversion to sinus rhythm, with persistent control over 24 hours without requiring alternative antiarrhythmics or mechanical support.


      A total of 32 patients (median age 71 days; interquartile range 17–221 days) received IV amiodarone (n = 20 [62%]) or IV sotalol (n = 12 [38%]) for postoperative JET. Amiodarone was successful in treating JET in 75% of cases; sotalol was successful in 83%. The JET rate decreased faster over the first 90 minutes after a sotalol bolus (25 beats/min per hour) than after an amiodarone bolus (8 beats/min per hour) (P < .01); no heart rate difference was seen after 24 hours. Amiodarone infusion was discontinued early because of hypotension/bradycardia in 2 patients; this was not required in any patients receiving sotalol.


      For children with postoperative JET, both IV sotalol and amiodarone are safe and efficacious. IV sotalol may lead to a faster improvement in heart rate.

      Graphical abstract


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