, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 91-103
Date: 20 Aug 2012

Pharmacologic Management of Arrhythmias in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

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The management of cardiac arrhythmias has evolved rapidly over the past decade. This includes the development of more effective antiarrhythmic medications as well as catheter- and device-based therapies. Antiarrhythmic medications remain the primary treatment modality for most acute arrhythmias; however, the long term use of these medications may be accompanied by severe adverse effects. For this reason, antiarrhythmic medications are increasingly used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, such as catheter ablation or pacemaker implantation.

Patients with congenital heart disease often have an increased propensity for cardiac arrhythmias due to both inherent conduction system abnormalities and impaired ventricular function. The purpose of this review is to examine the currently available antiarrhythmic drugs and assess their role in the treatment of arrhythmias in patients with congenital heart disease. It is important to emphasize that patients with congenital heart disease often have hemodynamic limitations and may be at an increased risk for developing adverse effects with antiarrhythmic agents. An awareness of the arrhythmias associated with congenital heart disease, the natural history of these arrhythmias, and the potential benefit of treatment with antiarrhythmic medications versus other forms of therapy provides a rational basis for therapy in this challenging population of patients.