Arrhythmogenic response to isoproterenol testing vs. exercise testing in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy patients

Europace. 2018 Jun 1;20(FI1):f30-f36. doi: 10.1093/europace/euy007.


Aims: To compare the arrhythmic response to isoproterenol and exercise testing in newly diagnosed arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) patients.

Methods and results: We studied isoproterenol [continuous infusion (45 µg/min) for 3 min] and exercise testing (workload increased by 30 W every 3 min) performed in consecutive newly diagnosed ARVC patients. Both tests were evaluated with regard to the incidence of (i) polymorphic premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) and couplet(s) or (ii) sustained or non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) with left bundle branch block [excluding right ventricular outflow tract VT]; and compared to a control group referred for the evaluation of PVCs without structural heart disease. Thirty-seven ARVC patients (63.5% male, age 38 ± 16 years) were included. The maximal sinus rhythm heart rate achieved during isoproterenol testing was significantly lower compared to exercise testing (149 ± 17 bpm vs. 166 ± 19 bpm, P < 0.0001). However, the incidence of polymorphic ventricular arrhythmias was much higher during isoproterenol testing compared to exercise testing [33/37 (89.2%) vs. 16/37 (43.2%), P < 0.0001]. Interestingly, isoproterenol testing was arrhythmogenic in all 15 patients in whom baseline PVCs were reduced or suppressed during exercise testing. During both isoproterenol and exercise testing, control group presented a low incidence of ventricular arrhythmias compared to ARVC patients (8.1% vs. 89.2%, P < 0.0001 and 2.7% vs. 43.2%, P < 0.0001, respectively).

Conclusions: The incidence of polymorphic ventricular arrhythmias is significantly higher during isoproterenol compared to exercise testing in newly diagnosed ARVC patients, suggesting its potential utility for the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / complications
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Isoproterenol / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / etiology*
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes / physiopathology
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Isoproterenol