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Ventricular tachycardia in infants with structurally normal heart: a benign disorder

  • Mark D. Levin (a1) (a2), Paul Stephens (a1), Ronn E. Tanel (a1) (a3), Victoria L. Vetter (a1) and Larry A. Rhodes (a1)...

We evaluated the presentation, treatment, and outcome of infants who present with ventricular tachycardia in the first year of life. Seventy-six infants were admitted to our institution with a diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia between January, 1987 and May, 2006. Forty-five infants were excluded from the study because of additional confounding diagnoses including accelerated idioventricular rhythm, Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, supraventricular tachycardia with aberrancy, long QT syndrome, cardiac rhabdomyoma, myocarditis, congenital lesions, or incomplete data. The remaining 31 included infants who had a median age at presentation of 1 day, with a range from 1 to 255 days, and a mean ventricular tachycardia rate of 213 beats per minute, with a range from 171 to 280, at presentation. The infants were treated chronically with propranolol (38.7%), amiodarone (12.9%), mexiletine (3.2%), propranolol and mexiletine (9.7%), or propranolol and procainamide (6.5%). The median duration of treatment was 13 months, with a range from 3 to 105 months. Ventricular tachycardia resolved spontaneously in all infants. No patient died, or received catheter ablation or device therapy. Median age at last ventricular tachycardia was 59 days, with a range from 1 to 836 days. Mean follow-up was 45 months, with a range from 5 to 164 months, with a mean ventricular tachycardia-free period of 40 months. Infants with asymptomatic ventricular tachycardia, a structurally normal heart, and no additional electrophysiological diagnosis all had spontaneous resolution of tachycardia. Furthermore, log-rank analysis of the time to ventricular tachycardia resolution showed no difference between children who received chronic outpatient anti-arrhythmic treatment and those who had no such therapy. While indications for therapy cannot be determined from this study, lack of symptoms or myocardial dysfunction suggests that therapy may not be necessary.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: L. A. Rhodes, MD, Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University School of Medicine, 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506, United States of America. Tel: 304 293 7036; Fax: 304 293 1409; E-mail:
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Cardiology in the Young
  • ISSN: 1047-9511
  • EISSN: 1467-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/cardiology-in-the-young
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