Carvedilol's antiarrhythmic properties: Therapeutic implications in patients with left ventricular dysfunction

Gerald V. Naccarelli, Mary Ann Lukas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Carvedilol is a beta- and alpha-adrenergic-blocking drug with clinically important antiarrhythmic properties. It possesses anti-ischemic and antioxidant activity and inhibits a number of cationic channels in the cardiomyocyte, including the HERG-associated potassium channel, the L-type calcium channel, and the rapid-depolarizing sodium channel. The electrophysiologic properties of carvedilol include moderate prolongation of action potential duration and effective refractory period; slowing of atrioventricular conduction; and reducing the dispersion of refractoriness. Experimentally, carvedilol reduces complex and repetitive ventricular ectopy induced by ischemia and reperfusion. In patients, carvedilol is effective in controlling the ventricular rate response in atrial fibrillation (AF), with and without digitalis, and is useful in maintaining sinus rhythm after cardioversion, with and without amiodarone. In patients with AF and heart failure (HF), carvedilol reduces mortality risk and improves left ventricular (LV) function. Large-scale clinical trials have demonstrated that combined carvedilol and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy significantly reduces sudden cardiac death, mortality, and ventricular arrhythmia in patients with LV dysfunction (LVD) due to chronic HF or following myocardial infarction (MI). Despite intensive neurohormonal blockade, mortality rates remain relatively high in patients with post-MI and nonischemic LVD. Recent trials of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators added to pharmacologic therapy, especially beta blockers, have shown a further reduction in arrhythmic deaths in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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