Electrophysiologic effects of desethylamiodarone, an active metabolite of amiodarone: comparison with amiodarone during chronic administration in rabbits

Am Heart J. 1988 Feb;115(2):351-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(88)90481-4.


During acute superfusion studies by means of the standard microelectrode technique, we previously showed that both amiodarone and its major metabolite, desethylamiodarone, had a modest effect on the lengthening of the action potential duration (APD) at high drug concentrations and produced a rate-dependent block of the sodium channel in cardiac muscle. In this study the comparative electrophysiologic effects of the two compounds in rabbits treated chronically with these compounds were determined with particular reference to repolarization and sinus node automaticity. The changes were correlated with those in serum and tissue drug levels and in thyroid hormone indices. After 1 week neither compound had a significant effect on atrial or sinus nodal potentials; after 3 weeks, amiodarone increased the atrial APD at 90% repolarization time by 10.5% (p less than 0.05) and the effective refractory period (ERP) by 6.7% (p less than 0.05). The corresponding figures for desethylamiodarone were 13% (NS) and 18% (NS). The sinus cycle length was increased 12% (NS) by amiodarone and 27.9% (p less than 0.05) after the metabolite. In animals treated for 6 weeks, amiodarone increased the ventricular APD at 90% repolarization by 58.8% (p less than 0.01) and desethylamiodarone by 42.0% the corresponding figures for the ERP were 63.4% (p less than 0.01 and 47.4% (p less than 0.01), respectively. At the stimulation frequency used, neither compound exerted a significant effect on Vmax. Both amiodarone and desethylamiodarone significantly decreased serum triiodothyronine and increased reverse triiodothyronine levels but had no effect on thyroxine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Amiodarone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Amiodarone / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Rabbits
  • Sinoatrial Node / drug effects
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • desethylamiodarone
  • Amiodarone