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September 18, 1972

Sudden Appearance of Cardiac Arrhythmias After Dexamethasone

JAMA. 1972;221(12):1402-1404. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200250042011

A 43-years-old woman was given 100 mg of dexamethasone intravenously the evening after aortic and mitral valve replacement. Immediately thereafter she developed very frequent multifocal premature ventricular contractions which subsided with the intravenous administration of lidocaine (Xylocaine 2%). Later she was given 50 mg of dexamethasone intravenously, and the arrhythmias recurred. The pathogenesis of these severe arrhythmias in this already stressed myocardium is uncertain. There is a possibility that it might be due to the preservatives.