Concealment of manifest, and exposure of concealed, ventricular parasystole produced by isoproterenol

Agustin Castellanos, Ivan J. Mendoza, Richard M. Luceri, Cesar A. Castillo, Liaqat Zaman, Nadir Saoudi, Robert J. Myerburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Few studies have dealt with the effects of isoproterenol on ventricular parasystole. Intravenous isoproterenol (2 to 4 μ/min) was administered to 11 nonmedicated patients with ventricular parasystole. At the onset of the drip infusion, 8 patients had continuous parasystole, 2 had intermittent parasystole, and 1 patient (in whom intermittent parasystole was documented 2 to 5 days earlier) showed no manifest parasystolic activity. In all patients, whose control parasystolic cycle length varied between 960 and 2,530 ms, isoproterenol caused a decrease of the parasystolic cycle lengths ranging from 12 to 36%. Therefore, isoproterenol produced a consistent increase of the parasystolic rate. In 4 patients, parasystolic activity ceased to be manifest when the concomitantly enhanced (by isoproterenol) sinus cycle lengths became shorter than 430 ms. This phenomenon reflected a tachycardia-dependent parasystolic concealment, presumably as a result of interference in the parasystolic-ventricular junction. In every case, the arrhythmia reappeared at its initial rate upon stopping the drip infusion. In no patient did parasystolic ventricular tachycardia develop. In the patient without manifest parasystolic beats, isoproterenol unmasked the intermittent parasystole that previously had been intrinsically manifest. The latter effect reflected a true exposure, or unmasking of a latent, rate-independent concealed, parasystolic focus. The findings in this study may explain some of the difficulties and puzzling findings encountered when attempting to diagnose ventricular parasystole from 24-hour Holter recordings, because ectopic and sinus cycle lengths can be affected by spontaneously occurring variations in sympathetic discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1344-1349
Number of pages6
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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