Vasovagal Responses to Human Monomorphic Ventricular Tachycardia: Hemodynamic Implications From Sinus Rate Analysis

Margarida Pujol-Lopez, Jeanne Du Fay de Lavallaz, Pooja Rangan, Andrew Beaser, Zaid Aziz, Gaurav A. Upadhyay, Hemal Nayak, J. Peter Weiss, Michael Zawaneh, Rong Bai, Wilber Su, Roderick Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Factors determining hemodynamic stability during human ventricular tachycardia (VT) are incompletely understood. Objectives: The purposes of this study were to characterize sinus rate (SR) responses during monomorphic VT in association with hemodynamic stability and to prospectively assess the effects of vagolytic therapy on VT tolerance. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of patients undergoing scar-related VT ablation. Vasovagal responses were evaluated by analyzing sinus cycle length before VT induction and during VT. SR responses were classified into 3 groups: increasing (≥5 beats/min, sympathetic), decreasing (≥5 beats/min, vagal), and unchanged, with the latter 2 categorized as inappropriate SR. In a prospective cohort (n = 30) that exhibited a failure to increase SR, atropine was administered to improve hemodynamic tolerance to VT. Results: In 150 patients, 261 VT episodes were analyzed (29% untolerated, 71% tolerated) with median VT duration 1.6 minutes. A total of 52% of VT episodes were associated with a sympathetic response, 31% had unchanged SR, and 17% of VTs exhibited a vagal response. A significantly higher prevalence of inappropriate SR responses was observed during untolerated VT (sustained VT requiring cardioversion within 150 seconds) compared with tolerated VT (84% vs 34%; P < 0.001). Untolerated VT was significantly different between groups: 9% (sympathetic), 82% (vagal), and 32% (unchanged) (P < 0.001). Atropine administration improved hemodynamic tolerance to VT in 70%. Conclusions: Nearly one-half of VT episodes are associated with failure to augment SR, indicative of an under-recognized pathophysiological vasovagal response to VT. Inappropriate SR responses were more predictive of hemodynamic instability than VT rate and ejection fraction. Vagolytic therapy may be a novel method to augment blood pressure during VT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1096-1105
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 12 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • atropine
  • hemodynamics
  • parasympathetic
  • sinus rate
  • sympathetic
  • vagal
  • ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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