Propofol for electrical storm; a case report of cardioversion and suppression of ventricular tachycardia by propofol

Can J Anaesth. 2002 Nov;49(9):973-7. doi: 10.1007/BF03016886.


Purpose: To present a case report where propofol abolished recurrent ventricular tachycardia (VT) and to suggest a mechanism by which this may have occurred.

Clinical features: A 65-yr-old male was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with electrical storm. Recurrent episodes of VT persisted despite maximal anti-arrhythmic therapy and resulted in a prolonged ICU course and the need for intra-aortic balloon pump support. This was complicated by an ischemic limb, necessitating an anesthetic for femoral thrombectomy. On several occasions while in the ICU, episodes of VT had resolved with boluses of propofol prior to planned cardioversion. In the operating room, episodes of non-sustained VT resolved after a bolus of propofol and remained suppressed for the duration of the case with the use of a propofol infusion.

Conclusion: The effects of propofol on cardiac conduction and on the autonomic nervous system have been studied but its effects on arrhythmias are not well documented. In this case report, propofol was associated with the resolution and suppression of VT. Recent evidence suggests that sympathetic blockade may be an effective treatment for electrical storm. This may be the mechanism by which propofol can abolish this arrhythmia intraoperatively.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Care
  • Electric Countershock*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumping
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Leg / blood supply
  • Leg / surgery
  • Male
  • Propofol / therapeutic use*
  • Recurrence
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / etiology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / complications
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Thrombectomy


  • Propofol