ABSTRACT: Cardioversion of chronic atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter to sinus rhythm is often associated with transient atrial mechanical dysfunction, i.e. 'atrial stunning', which may increase the risk of subsequent thromboembolic events. We hypothesized that, because of its positive inotropic action, a low-dose isoproterenol infusion might improve postcardioversion atrial mechanical function.
Eighteen patients (15 male, three female; 12 atrial fibrillation, six atrial flutter; mean age 65+/-10 years) exhibiting atrial postcardioversion stunning were included in the study. Isoproterenol was infused for 10 min at a dose sufficient to increase the heart rate by about 10%. Using transesophageal echocardiography, both the left atrial appendage emptying/filling flow velocity and function (fractional area change) were examined at baseline, before isoproterenol (immediately after cardioversion) and after isoproterenol.
With infusion of 0.005-0.008 microg/kg/min isoproterenol, heart rate increased by 11.1+/-2.9%, and left atrial appendage emptying velocity, which was diminished following cardioversion, increased significantly (P<0.001) (baseline, before and after isoproterenol: 41.1+/-18.0, 20.3+/-8.5 and 27.3+/-9.6 cm/s, respectively). No major complications were associated with isoproterenol infusion.
Short-term infusion of low-dose isoproterenol improved atrial function after cardioversion of chronic atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
International Journal of Cardiology 07/2002; 84(1):59-67. · 7.08 Impact Factor