Prospective Study of Adenosine on Atrioventricular Nodal Conduction in Pediatric and Young Adult Patients After Heart Transplantation

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Abstract

Background:

Supraventricular tachycardia is common after heart transplantation. Adenosine, the standard therapy for treating supraventricular tachycardia in children and adults without transplantation, is relatively contraindicated after transplantation because of a presumed risk of prolonged atrioventricular block in denervated hearts. This study tested whether adenosine caused prolonged asystole after transplantation and if it was effective in blocking atrioventricular nodal conduction in these patients.

Methods:

This was a single-center prospective clinical study including healthy heart transplant recipients 6 months to 25 years of age presenting for routine cardiac catheterization during 2015 to 2016. After catheterization, a transvenous pacing catheter was placed and adenosine was given following a dose-escalation protocol until atrioventricular block was achieved. The incidence of clinically significant asystole (≥12 seconds after adenosine) was quantified. The effects of patient characteristics on adenosine dose required to produce atrioventricular block and duration of effect were also measured.

Results:

Eighty patients completed adenosine testing. No patient (0%; 95% confidence interval, 0–3) required rescue ventricular pacing. Atrioventricular block was observed in 77 patients (96%; 95% confidence interval, 89–99). The median longest atrioventricular block was 1.9 seconds (interquartile range, 1.4–3.2 seconds), with a mean duration of adenosine effect of 4.3±2.0 seconds. No patient characteristic significantly predicted the adenosine dose to produce atrioventricular block or duration of effect. Results were similar across patient weight categories.

Conclusions:

Adenosine induces atrioventricular block in healthy pediatric and young adult heart transplant recipients with minimal risk when low initial doses are used (25 μg/kg; 1.5 mg if ≥60 kg) and therapy is gradually escalated.

Clinical Trial Registration:

URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02462941.

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