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May 1968

Lidocaine in Cardiac Arrhythmias

Author Affiliations

Bronx, NY

From the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Bronx, NY. Doctor Lubow is now with the Cardiorespiratory Section of the Division of Internal Medicine, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ.

Arch Intern Med. 1968;121(5):396-401. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.03640050006002

Sixty unanesthetized patients with 74 cardiac arrhythmias received lidocaine intravenously in an average dose of 1.5 mg/kg in 30 seconds. Suppression or termination of ventricular arrhythmias occurred in more than 80% of the 33 patients whether they had an acute myocardial infarction, were receiving digitalis, or were not receiving digitalis or digitalis toxic. Only 15% (six out of 41 patients) of the supraventricular arrhythmias were affected. Minimal side effects, mainly drowsiness, appeared in 47% of the patients and lasted less than five minutes. Blood pressure changes were not significant and no hypotension or convulsions occurred. Continous infusion of lidocaine (1 to 3.5 mg/min) for up to five days, without side effects, suppressed ventricular arrhythmias in all 18 patients treated. Lidocaine appears effective in suppressing or terminating ventricular arrhythmias occurring in a variety of clinical conditions. It is only occasionally effective in atrial arrhythmias.