Experimental studies on the pathogenesis of asystole after verapamil in the dog

Academic Article


  • The effect of verapamil on automaticity and conduction in the atrioventricular (A-V) junctional region was studied in anesthetized dogs. In five normal dogs verapamil, 10 μg/ml, was selectively perfused into the A-V nodal artery and caused first degree heart block, which progressed to second degree heart block in three of the five. Higher concentrations of verapamil, 25 μg/ml, caused complete heart block in three of five other dogs, but no episodes of asystole (defined as a ventricular pause of 10 or more seconds). In six other dogs after beta receptor blockade with propranolol, 20 μg/ml, perfused into the A-V nodal artery, verapamil, 10 μg/ml, regularly caused second degree heart block; in four of the six dogs there was a transient episode of third degree A-V block, and in two of these there was a period of asystole. In each of the 10 dogs pretreated with reserpine, verapamil, 10 μg/ml, caused third degree A-V block; in seven of these there was a period of asystole with ventricular standstill up to 30 seconds. Concentrations of verapamil that do not produce high grade heart block in the normal heart thus readily cause both high grade block and prolonged ventricular standstill after elimination of adrenergic influences in the A-V junction. © 1979.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Urthaler F; James TN
  • Start Page

  • 651
  • End Page

  • 656
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 4