The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy, safety, and patient tolerance of transvenous cardioversion and defibrillation in patients who had recurrent ventricular tachyarrhythmias. In five of seven patients, a truncated exponential shock of 0.025 to 2.0 joules synchronized to the QRS complex terminated 47 episodes of recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT). Cardioversion threshold was ≤ 0.25 joule in three patients and 0.75 to 2.0 joules in two patients. Shocks of 0.75 joule and 2.0 joule failed to terminate VT in one patient each; higher energies were not tried because of hemodynamic decompensation. In one patient, a shock of 25 joules terminated ventricular fibrillation (VF) on three occasions, and in another patient a shock of 1.0 joule terminated atrial fibrillation on one occasion. Shocks ≤ 0.5 joule were well tolerated by the awake unsedated patient. One hundred forty of 141 synchronized shocks (including subthreshold shocks) produced no repetitive ventricular activity. In one seriously ill patient who had received multiple antiarrhythmic drugs and required balloon counterpulsation for hemodynamic support, on a single occasion each a synchronized transvenous shock and a synchronized conventional transthoracic shock produced ventricular flutter and ventricular fibrillation (VF), respectively. We conclude that synchronized transvenous cardioversion by a catheter electrode offers promise as a new therapeutic approach.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine