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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2003 February;51(1):49-54

language: Italian

Verapamil in the cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. Clinical study

Martinelli M. M., Dragagna G., Vitali A., Fedele F.


Background. Prolonged periods of atrial fibrillation (AF) or high frequency atrial pacing lead to a significant shortening of atrial refractory periods. This time-dependent electric remodelling is reduced significantly by the administration of verapamil.
Methods. The present series consists of 24 patients all suffering from atrial fibrillation (33% acute AF and 66% chronic recurrent AF) admitted to our Cardiology Department (Rome University). Group G1 (13 patients) received i.v. verapamil (50 mg in 500 cc saline solution at 40 ml/hr). Group G2 (11 patients) received amiodarone i.v. (300 mg in bolus form followed by the infusion of 900 mg in 500 cc 5% glucosate solution, 33 ml/hr for 6 hours and subsequently 18 ml/hr). All patients received non-fractionated heparin i.v. at the same time.
Results. No statistically significant difference was observed in the percentage of pharmacological cardioversions in the two groups: G1=61% vs G2=54% p=0.94). The patients who were not cardioverted pharmacologically were done so electrically (external DC shock).
Conclusions. Albeit in this small population of patients verapamil proved to possess anti-arrhythmic effects on a par with that of standard amiodarone antiarrhythmic treatment. This antiarrhythmic potential of verapamil should be demonstrated in a broader randomised study.

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