Ventricular ectopy in patients with left ventricular dysfunction: should it be treated?

J Card Fail. 2013 Jan;19(1):40-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2012.11.004.


Ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) are commonly encountered in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Frequent ventricular ectopy can be associated with deterioration of cardiac function and may lead to VPC-induced cardiomyopathy. VPC-induced inter- and/or intraventricular dyssynchrony has been postulated as the main mechanism underlying VPC-induced left ventricular dysfunction. For risk stratification, VPCs in the setting of CHF can not be regarded to be a benign arrhythmia as in an apparently healthy subject. However, any potential survival benefits to be derived from suppression of VPCs or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in CHF may be offset by the negative inotropic and proarrhythmic effects of antiarrhythmic drugs and may be masked by the risk of death that is already high in this subgroup of patients. β-Blockers are currently considered to be the first-line therapy, with amiodarone as a back-up. Catheter ablation, although invasive and not without procedural risk, avoids the common adverse effects of currently available antiarrhythmic medications. From a standpoint of preventing or reversing left ventricular dysfunction, frequent VPCs should be treated earlier regardless of their site of origin or the presence of associated symptoms, such as palpitations. Catheter ablation may be the preferable approach in selected patients, particularly when β-blocker therapy has been ineffective or not tolerated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Decision Making
  • Disease Progression
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / mortality
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / therapy*
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / mortality
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / therapy*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists