Effect of aminophylline in patients with atropine-resistant late advanced atrioventricular block during acute inferior myocardial infarction

Clin Cardiol. 1998 Oct;21(10):759-62. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960211012.


Background: Advanced atrioventricular (AV) block is a frequent complication in patients with acute inferior myocardial infarction (AIMI). This conduction abnormality is associated with narrow QRS complex in conducted or junctional escape beats, suggesting that the site of block is the AV node; however, its pathophysiology has not been properly established.

Hypothesis: This study investigated the effect of aminophylline in eight patients (5 men, 3 women, age range 51 to 78 years, mean 67.5 +/- 8.8 years) with atropine-resistant late advanced AV block during AIMI.

Methods: Advanced AV block was late in appearance in all patients, starting 2 to 5 days after AIMI, and consisted of second-degree Mobitz II type in two patients and of complete AV block in six patients; all patients had narrow QRS complexes. Before aminophylline administration, all patients had a temporary pacemaker installed which was switched off throughout the study. They were given intravenous atropine (1 mg) that was found to be ineffective. One-half h after atropine, the first aminophylline injection (240 mg) was given intravenously over 10 min. One h following the first injection, a second aminophylline dose (240 mg) was administered. Electrocardiographic rhythm strips were obtained before and after drug administration, and the type of AV block and atrial and ventricular rate were noted.

Results: Aminophylline restored 1:1 conduction with first-degree AV block in six patients, Mobitz I AV block in one patient, and normal sinus rhythm in one patient. Mean atrial and ventricular rates before aminophylline were 104 +/- 16 beats/min and 57 +/- 9 beats/min, respectively, and after drug administration 95 +/- 25 beats/min and 89 +/- 17 beats/min, respectively, (p = 0.012).

Conclusion: These results indicate that aminophylline improves AV conduction in atropine-resistant late advanced AV block complicating AIMI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aminophylline / therapeutic use*
  • Atropine / therapeutic use
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Heart Block / drug therapy*
  • Heart Block / etiology
  • Heart Block / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Parasympatholytics / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Time Factors


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Aminophylline
  • Atropine