Pacemaker and defibrillator combination therapy for recurrent ventricular tachycardia

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The judicious use of antitachycardia pacemakers can enhance the benefits of automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators in certain patients. Both devices were implanted in 10 highly selected patients with drug-refractory pace-terminable sustained ventricular tachycardia. During the observation period of 8 ± 4.8 months, the automatic pacemakers detected 1,542 episodes of ventricular tachycardia and appropriately managed 1,373. The automatic implantable defibrillator was activated at least once in every patient; on two documented occasions, the defibrillator discharged because the automatic pacemaker accelerated the tachycardia. Concomitant antiarrhythmic drugs could be reduced but not withdrawn. With meticulous device programming and testing, the two systems in combination can work synergistically to manage malignant ventricular arrhythmias in carefully selected patients.



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