The influence of a 6-week intervention on factors thought to be related to ectopic cardiac rhythms was tested in normal men with frequent ventricular premature contractions (VPCs), using a randomized, controlled and partial crossover design. The VPC intervention trial experimental regimen included total abstinence from caffeine and smoking, reduction of alcohol intake, and a physical conditioning program. Effects were studied in detail among 81 healthy men with persistent VPCs. VPCs were measured during standard states of rest, dynamic and isometric exercise and other stresses, and 24-hour ambulatory monitoring. Adherence to the treatment was excellent. The experimental group achieved more than 80% of activities asked of them, and little "contamination" occurred in the control group.
VPCs were analyzed according to VPC/min, VPC/man and VPC/total number of heart beats. Moderate changes in VPC rates occurred in both experimental and control groups but no significant group differences were found at rest or during any induction test. This 6-week, multiple-factor "hygienic" intervention program had no significant influence on the frequency or occurrence of VPCs in apparently normal men with persistent and frequent VPCs.
Because the mechanisms and the significance of VPCs are different in patients with ischemic heart disease, our approach and methods may be useful for similar trials among cardiac patients of adjunct or non-drug therapy for ectopic rhythms.