Measuring Antiarrhythmic Drug Efficacy by Suppression of Asymptomatic Ventricular Arrhythmias

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There is general agreement that patients with the combination of coronary artery disease and frequent and complex ventricular ectopic beats are at high risk of subsequent sudden death (1–5). It is widely hypothesized that suppression of such asymptomatic arrhythmias with drugs can prevent these deaths. This hypothesis stimulates many clinicians to treat asymptomatic ventricular ectopic beats when they are frequent and complex and occur in the patient with coronary heart disease. Recent detailed analyses of ambulatory electrocardiographic recordings have documented a marked short-, intermediate-, and long-term spontaneous variation in the total number of premature ventricular ectopic beats and the occurrence

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