Case studies in cardiovascular nursing| Volume 37, ISSUE 1, P67-71, January 2008

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The impact of carvedilol on the defibrillation threshold


      Defibrillation threshold (DFT) is the minimum energy required to successfully terminate ventricular fibrillation. Epinephrine has been shown to increase the DFT in the beta-blocker naïve, but using cardioselective beta-blockers leads to a reduction in the DFT on infusion of epinephrine and norepinephrine. We sought to determine the impact of carvedilol therapy on the DFT after infusion of epinephrine and norepinephrine.


      DFT was determined in patients receiving carvedilol by the step-down method (baseline DFT), and then patients (n = 27, 67.3 years, 70.0% were male, average left ventricular ejection fraction = 19%) were randomized to a 7-minute infusion of norepinephrine, epinephrine, or placebo in a double-blind manner. After the study drug infusion, DFT testing was repeated (experimental DFT) and results were compared between groups.


      No differences in intragroup DFTs were observed among carvedilol-treated patients receiving norepinephrine (9.4 ± 4.6 J vs 11.1 ± 7.8 J; P = .589), epinephrine (10.6 ± 5.3 J vs 9.8 ± 6.3 J; P = .779), or placebo (11.1 ± 7.0 vs 8.5 ± 4.2; P = .349).


      Carvedilol prevents alterations in DFT produced by stress levels of catecholamines.
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