Antiarrhythmic drug therapy for ventricular arrhythmias: Current perspectives

Mark S. Link, Munther Homoud, Caroline B. Foote, Paul J. Wang, N. A.Mark Estes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Pharmacologic therapy for ventricular arrhythmias has undergone a remarkable change recently. Recognition of the importance of underlying structural heart disease on prognostic implications of ventricular arrhythmias has resulted in the refinement of the clinical classification of these arrhythmias. With refinement of techniques of risk stratification, it is now possible to identify patients with ventricular arrhythmias at high risk for sudden death. Retrospective analyses of prior antiarrhythmic drug trials and new data from prospective randomized trials are now available and can more directly define the risks and benefits of antiarrhythmic therapy. Prevention of sudden death, reduction in total mortality, or improvement in symptoms remain the only benefits of antiarrhythmic drugs. With inclusion of total mortality as the major endpoint for assessment of pharmacologic interventions in high-risk patients, the potential for excess mortality due to antiarrhythmic agents is now recognized. The pharmacologic diversity of newly released antiarrhythmic agents and others under development has resulted in a re-evaluation of the traditional classification of these drugs. Multiple ongoing clinical trials will define the risks and benefits of antiarrhythmic therapy and other nonpharmacologic interventions in patients with ventricular arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-670
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1996


  • antiarrhythmic agents
  • sudden cardiac death
  • ventricular premature beats
  • ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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