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Antidysrhythmic drug therapy for the termination of stable, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia: a systematic review
  1. Ian S deSouza,
  2. Jennifer L Martindale,
  3. Richard Sinert
  1. SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian S deSouza, Department of Emergency Medicine, SUNY Downstate, 450 Clarkson Ave, Box 1228, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA; Ian.deSouza{at}


Objective We performed a systematic review of the literature to compare the efficacy of different drug therapies for the termination of stable, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT).

Methods We searched EMBASE, MEDLINE and Cochrane for trials from 1965 through July 2013 using a search strategy derived from the following clinical question in PICO format: Patients: Adults (≥18 years) with stable monomorphic VT; Intervention: Intravenous antidysrhythmic drug; Comparator: Intravenous lidocaine or amiodarone; Outcome: Termination of VT. For all drug comparisons, we calculated relative risks (RR; 95% CI) and number needed to treat (NNT, 95% CI) between drugs. We also evaluated the methodological quality of the studies.

Results Our search yielded 219 articles by PubMed and 390 articles by EMBASE. 3 prospective studies (n=93 patients) and 2 retrospective studies (n=173 patients) met our inclusion and exclusion criteria. From the prospective studies, RR of VT termination of procainamide versus lidocaine was 3.7 (1.3–10.5); ajmaline versus lidocaine, RR=5.3 (1.4–20.5); and sotalol versus lidocaine, RR=3.9 (1.3–11.5). From the retrospective studies: procainamide versus lidocaine, RR=2.2 (1.2–4.0); and procainamide versus amiodarone RR=4.3 (0.8–23.6). All 5 reviewed studies had quality issues, including potential bias for randomisation and concealment.

Conclusions Based on limited available evidence from small heterogeneous human studies, for the treatment of stable, monomorphic VT, procainamide, ajmaline and sotalol were all superior to lidocaine; amiodarone was not more effective than procainamide.

  • cardiac care, arrythmia
  • emergency department management
  • resuscitation, clinical care

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