Incessant ventricular tachycardia in infants: myocardial hamartomas and surgical cure

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1987 Sep;10(3):619-26. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(87)80205-x.


Infants with incessant ventricular tachycardia (occurring greater than 10% of the day) have generally been described in pathologic studies. This report describes 21 patients with incessant ventricular tachycardia present greater than 90% of the day and night; the age at diagnosis ranged from birth to 30 months (mean 10.5 months). The most common clinical presentation was cardiac arrest (11 patients, in 5 after digitalis for presumed supraventricular tachycardia); another 6 patients had congestive heart failure and 4 were asymptomatic. Three patients had coexisting Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The rate of incessant ventricular tachycardia ranged from 167 to 440 (mean 260 beats/min) and the QRS duration from 0.06 to 0.11 second. The most common electrocardiographic (ECG) pattern (10 of 21) was right bundle branch block with left axis deviation, but other right and left bundle branch block patterns were observed. Conventional and investigational antiarrhythmic agents (nine patients received amiodarone) failed to eliminate incessant ventricular tachycardia in all. Electrophysiologic studies localized incessant ventricular tachycardia to the left ventricle in 17 (to the apex in 2, the free wall in 9 and the septum in 6) and to the right ventricular septum in 4. No structural abnormalities were found on the echocardiogram or angiocardiogram. All 21 patients had surgery at an age of 3.5 to 31 months (mean 16). In 15 a tumor was found: 13 myocardial hamartomas (9 discrete, 4 diffuse throughout both ventricles) and 2 rhabdomyomas (1 multiple). Myocarditis was found in one patient (the oldest). In four, only myocardial fibrosis was found; results of one biopsy were normal.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting
  • Hamartoma / complications*
  • Hamartoma / pathology
  • Hamartoma / surgery
  • Heart Neoplasms / complications*
  • Heart Neoplasms / pathology
  • Heart Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Tachycardia / complications*
  • Tachycardia / drug therapy
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia / surgery


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents