Polymorphous ventricular tachycardia and atrioventricular block

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1986 Jul;9(4):522-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1986.tb06609.x.


Nine patients are presented who had polymorphous ventricular tachycardia (PMVT) occurring during atrioventricular (AV) block. There were five men and four women with a mean age of 80 +/- 9 years. Five patients had organic heart disease and the remaining four had primary conduction disease (bundle branch block). AV block was complete in four patients (2:1 in three, and paroxysmal in two). The mean ventricular cycle length (of the AV block rhythm) was 1567 +/- 203 ms. The mean QT interval was 0.64 +/- 0.09 s and the mean QTc was 0.51 +/- 0.06 s. When compared to a similar control group with AV block but without PMVT, the ventricular cycle length was similar but the QT and QTc were significantly longer. PMVT was usually of short duration (eight beats to 12 s) and in seven of these nine patients, frequent premature ventricular beats (PVBs) were recorded at various times from the occurrence of PMVT. This is in contrast to the control patients in whom PVBs were detected in one patient only. In conclusion, patients with AV block who develop PMVT usually have longer QT intervals and have detectable PVBs on routine ECGs, unlike similar patients with AV block but without PMVT. In a patient with AV block, a QT interval above 0.60 s and PVBs on the ECG seem to indicate an increased risk for the development of PMVT.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Block / complications*
  • Heart Block / physiopathology
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk
  • Tachycardia / etiology*
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology