Chapter

Antiarrhythmic Drugs

Peter A. Brady

in Mayo Clinic Cardiology

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199915712
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322824 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199915712.003.0715

Series: Mayo Clinic Scientific Press

Antiarrhythmic Drugs

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In general terms, antiarrhythmic drugs work in 1 of 2 ways: to slow the velocity of the propagating wave front (the action of drugs that predominantly block sodium channels) or to increase the amount of cardiac tissue that is refractory and, therefore, cannot be excited by the propagating wave front (predominantly drugs that block potassium channels). In this way, antiarrhythmic drugs act to alter the myocardial-electrical substrate to decrease the stability of sustained reentrant circuits. In some circumstances, drugs may either slow conduction too much or alter the refractoriness of remote parts of the reentrant circuit that increases, rather than decreases, the stability of the reentrant circuit and, in this way, may be proarrhythmic.

Chapter.  5580 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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