, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 282-288

Interactions of antiarrhythmic drugs with implantable defibrillator therapy for atrial and ventricular tachyarrhythmias

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Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) have proven highly successful in the treatment of recurrent ventricular and atrial arrhythmias. Despite their high efficacy in terminating arrhythmias, concomitant therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs in ICD recipients remains common. Antiarrhythmic drugs are employed in an attempt to to limit patient exposire to high-energy shocks, primarily by reducing the number of arrhythmia reccurrences, suppressing coexisting arrhythmias, affecting rate and organization of tachycardias, and increasing efficacy of painless pacing therapies. Data regarding interaction of antiarrhythmic drugs with ICDs are incomplete and mostly based on animal models; however, it is clear that antiarrhythmic drugs affect all aspects of function of devices such as defibriallation threshold, pacing threshold, and sensing of both atrial and and ventricular arrhythmias. Because significant change in any of these functions may result in a nonfunctional device, and magnitude of drug effect in an individual patient is unpredictable, careful assessment of ICD function after an institution of therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs is mandatory.