Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intravenous amiodarone in young patients.
Background: Oral amiodarone therapy has proved useful for problematic arrhythmias in children, but its pharmacokinetics with the oral route preclude its use in several acute settings.
Methods: Intravenous amiodarone was administered in 1-mg/kg body weight aliquots followed by continuous infusion to patients with potentially life-threatening tachyarrhythmias that had not been abolished by standard therapies.
Results: Ten patients (mean age 6.8 years) received intravenous amiodarone: for ventricular tachycardia in seven patients and for atrial tachycardia, junctional tachycardia and multiple arrhythmias in one patient each. Surgery for congenital heart defects had been performed previously in six patients. Two patients had a hamartoma causing ventricular tachycardia. Six of 10 patients had complete resolution of arrhythmia with intravenous amiodarone: 4 of 7 with ventricular tachycardia, 1 of 1 with atrial tachycardia and 1 of 1 with postoperative junctional ectopic tachycardia. Intravenous amiodarone was not successful in the two patients with a hamartoma but slowed ventricular tachycardia in one, allowing successful surgical cure. Average drug load at the time of effect was 4.8 mg/kg body weight. Four patients had transient hypotension during loading, corrected with volume or low dose calcium. Intravenous infusion of amiodarone, 10 mg/kg per day, continued an average of 3 days. Four of 10 patients died, all of nonarrhythmic causes not attributable to intravenous amiodarone.
Conclusions: Intravenous amiodarone was well tolerated in this small series of patients. Postoperative ventricular tachycardia was responsive to intravenous amiodarone in 80% (8 of 10) of the patients (95% confidence interval 40% to 99%). Use of this drug in acute, postoperative tachyarrhythmias may be lifesaving in some patients when standard intravenous therapies fail.