Adverse event rate during inpatient sotalol initiation for the management of supraventricular and ventricular tachycardia in the pediatric and young adult population

Heart Rhythm. 2020 Jun;17(6):984-990. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.01.022. Epub 2020 Feb 1.


Background: Sotalol is an important antiarrhythmic drug in the pediatric population. Given the risk of proarrhythmia, sotalol is initiated in inpatient settings, with adult studies as recent as 2015 supporting this practice.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of adverse events (AEs) during sotalol initiation for the management of atrial, supraventricular, or ventricular arrhythmias in pediatric patients.

Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis of pediatric patients 21 years or younger initiated on oral sotalol for supraventricular tachycardia or ventricular tachycardia (VT) at Boston Children's Hospital from January 1, 2007, through July 1, 2016, was performed. The primary end point was an AE defined as significant bradycardia, new or increased ventricular arrhythmias, conduction block, or corrected QT interval (QTc) prolongation, resulting in dose reduction or cessation.

Results: There were 190 patients who met inclusion criteria, with 110 patients (58%) 6 months or younger. A total of 115 patients (60%) had congenital heart disease. Arrhythmias for which sotalol was initiated included atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia/atrioventricular nodal reciprocating tachycardia (n = 105 [55%]), atrial flutter (n = 31 [16%]), ectopic atrial tachycardia (n = 26 [14%]), VT (n = 21 [11%]), and atrial fibrillation (n = 7 [4%]). The median pre-sotalol QTc was 438 ms (interquartile range 348-530 ms). Five patients (3%) (aged 0.1-18 years) had AEs including bradycardia <40 beats/min (n = 2) and <100 beats/min (n = 1) and QTc prolongation (n = 2). All 5 patients with AEs had repaired congenital heart disease.

Conclusion: The incidence of AEs in pediatric patients initiating sotalol for atrial tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia, or VT is low (3%), with no deaths or malignant rhythms reported in this series.

Keywords: Adverse events; Pediatrics; Sotalol; Supraventricular tachycardia; Ventricular tachycardia.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Atrial Fibrillation / chemically induced*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sotalol / adverse effects*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Sotalol