To review the rationale and development of a multidisciplinary amiodarone clinic, and document the clinical outcomes resulting from its implementation.Methods.
A clinic was established to provide an ambulatory setting in which patients receiving amiodarone could be followed according to published guidelines by a multidisciplinary team of cardiovascular health care specialists. Patients receiving amiodarone were referred to the clinic by their primary physicians. A data base containing each patient's medical history, current drug therapy, and baseline laboratory values was developed during the initial visit. Liver function tests, thyroid function tests, and chest radiographs were performed every 6 months, and pulmonary function tests were scheduled on an annual basis. Dosage adjustments were performed in select patients.Results.
Since November 1996, 60 patients have been referred to the amiodarone clinic. Mean length of follow-up before and after referral was 16.3 ± 25.5 and 9.2 ± 5.5 months, respectively. Laboratory tests were performed according to accepted guidelines in 14 (23%) patients before referral compared with 54 (90%) patients after enrollment (p<0.001). Previously unrecognized adverse events were detected in 21 (35%) patients, including pulmonary fibrosis, QT prolongation, liver enzyme elevation, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and asthma exacerbation. Amiodarone was discontinued in six patients, four of whom had suspected pulmonary toxicity. The dose of amiodarone was adjusted in 29 (48.4%) patients.Conclusion.
Many patients receiving amiodarone are not being followed according to published recommendations. Implementation of a specialized, multidisciplinary amiodarone clinic improves outcomes by monitoring for early detection of drug-related toxicities and by facilitating proper dosage modifications.