Patients with cardiac arrhythmias are generally instructed to avoid caffeine intake. A comprehensive evaluation of the electrophysiological effects of caffeine on atrial and ventricular tissues in humans has not previously been performed.Methods and Results:
Eighty patients (31 men, mean age 49 ± 14 years) with symptomatic supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) undergoing an electrophysiologic study (EPS) prior to catheter ablation were randomized to receive oral caffeine or placebo. Caffeine at a dosage of 5 mg/kg (moderate intake) or placebo tablets were administered orally at a mean time of 57 ± 13 minutes prior to the EPS. The median (IQR) caffeine level in patients receiving caffeine was 7.4 μg/mL (4.7–8.7), as compared with 0.15 (0.00–0.61) in patients receiving placebo, P < 0.0001. Caffeine was associated with a significant increase in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures as compared with placebo, while the resting heart rate was not significantly different between both groups. Caffeine was not associated with significant effects on the effective refractory period of the atrium or ventricle, as well as on AV node conduction. SVT was induced in all but 3 patients; there was no significant difference between groups receiving placebo or caffeine on SVT inducibility or the cycle length of induced tachycardias.Conclusions:
Caffeine, at moderate intake, was associated with significant increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures, but had no evidence of a significant effect on cardiac conduction and refractoriness. Furthermore, no effect of caffeine on SVT induction or more rapid rates of induced tachycardias was found.