Induction of the diving reflex, by immersion of the face in cold water (2°C) while the breath was held, converted paroxysmal atrial tachycardia to sinus rhythm within 15-35 seconds in seven patients (aged 22-66). Four had histories of attacks that had previously required vasopressor therapy, and two had been digitalised; three had no history of prior paroxysmal atrial tachycardia or heart-disease. The reported procedure, which is convenient, non-invasive, and can be self administered by the patient after brief instruction, may offer a useful adjunct to carotid-sinus massage and intravenous infusion of vasopressors for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial tachycardia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine