Atrial flutter termination by overdrive transesophageal pacing and the facilitating effect of oral propafenone

Flavio Doni, Paolo Della Bella, Antoine Kheir, Margherita Manfredi, Carlo Piemonti, Elio Staffiere, Andrea Rimondini, Cesare Fiorentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transesophageal overdrive atrial pacing is effective and safe for atrial flutter termination. The influence of antiarrhythmic drug therapy on this procedure is controversial. In this study, we investigated whether oral propafenone may facilitate this procedure. Thirty patients with type I atrial flutter were randomized into 2 groups in which transesophageal pacing was attempted: group A, without treatment; and group B, after oral administration of propafenone 600 mg. Transesophageal pacing was effective in interrupting atrial flutter in 53% of patients (8 of 15) in group A and in 87% of patients (13 of 15) in group B. A significant lengthening of the flutter cycle was observed with respect to the baseline in patients given propafenone (261 ± 23 vs 217 ± 25, p <0.01). Sinus rhythm resumed at a shorter paced cycle in group A patients (166 ± 13 vs 187 ± 14 ms, p <0.01). The transesophageal threshold for stable atrial capture was significantly lower in group A (20.5 ± 0.2 vs 23.3 ± 1.2, p <0.01). In no patient was the threshold for atrial capture higher than the pain threshold. We did not observe abrupt enhancement of atrioventricular conduction. We conclude that propafenone is effective and safe when used with transesophageal pacing in the termination of atrial flutter. The slowing effect of the drug on intraatrial conduction and the possible stabilizing effect on the reentry circuit appear to be outweighed by the positive effect of propafenone on the excitable gap of the circuit, facilitating its capture and accounting for the beneficial effect of the drug on arrhythmia termination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1246
Number of pages4
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Atrial flutter termination by overdrive transesophageal pacing and the facilitating effect of oral propafenone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this