Electrophysiologic effects of propranolol on sinus node function in patients with sinus node dysfunction

Circulation. 1976 Sep;54(3):452-9. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.54.3.452.


The electrophysiologic effects of intravenously administered propranolol (0.1 mg/kg) on three parameters of sinus node function were examined in ten symptomatic patients with sinus node dysfunction. The patients ranged in age from 26 to 79 years. Symptoms ranged from fatigue to frank syncope. Sinoatrial (SA) block and sinus pauses were observed in one patient; sinus pauses alone were observed in three patients. Five (5/10) patients had intraatrial block; three (3/10) patients had atrioventricular block; four (4/10) patients had an intraventricular conduction disturbance. At the time of electrophysiologic study, two patients had a control spontaneous sinus cycle length that exceeded 1000 msec. Following propranolol, the mean spontaneous cycle length increased by 17.4% (924 to 1085 msec, P less than 0.005) and spontaneous second degree SA block reappeared in the one patient. The maximum escape cycle ranged from 116% to 229% of the prepacing spontaneous cycle length and was considered to be prolonged in two of ten patients. Propranolol had no significant effect on the maximum escape cycle/prepacing cycle length X 100 (%). The estimated sinoatrial conduction time (SACT) was determined in seven patients and ranged in value from 120 to 238 mes. Propranolol increased the mean value of the estimated SACT from 179 to 213 msec, P less than 0.025. Propranolol may cause marked bradyarrhythmias in some patients with sinus node dysfunction, and should be used with caution in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmia, Sinus / physiopathology*
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Block / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Propranolol / administration & dosage
  • Propranolol / pharmacology*
  • Sinoatrial Block / physiopathology*
  • Sinoatrial Node / drug effects*
  • Sinoatrial Node / physiopathology


  • Atropine
  • Propranolol