Flecainide: its proarrhythmic effect and expected changes on the surface electrocardiogram

Am J Cardiol. 1984 Feb 27;53(5):89B-94B. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(84)90509-5.


The proarrhythmic potential and electrophysiologic effect of flecainide acetate, a potent class IC anti-arrhythmic agent, are considered in this report. Although the definition of a proarrhythmic effect is arbitrary, several such definitions are discussed and applied to data on flecainide. In patients with chronic ventricular arrhythmias, an increase in VPC frequency developed in 0 to 4% of patients, compared with 1 to 8% of patients who received quinidine and 2% who received encainide, another class IC agent. In patients with acute hemodynamically significant ventricular arrhythmias, the proarrhythmic effects were noted in 5 to 12%. Proarrhythmic effects appear to be more common in patients with left ventricular dysfunction and life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. The depression of atrioventricular conduction produced by flecainide is similar to that seen with other class IC agents. Increases in PR and QRS intervals are related to dose and plasma concentration and are approximately 25% at therapeutic levels. These changes in the electrocardiographic intervals do not appear to carry important clinical implications and do not require discontinuation of flecainide. QT prolongation is absent or minimal with flecainide. Guidelines for management of patients with flecainide are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / chemically induced*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Flecainide
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Piperidines / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Flecainide