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Safety and feasibility of intravenous sotalol loading for the prevention of ventricular arrhythmias.

BACKGROUND: The use of intravenous (IV) sotalol loading following recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a 1-day loading protocol has reduced the obligatory 3-day hospital stay for sotalol initiation when given orally. Several studies have recently demonstrated the safety and feasibility of IV loading for patients with atrial arrhythmias. However, there is a paucity of data on the feasibility and safety of IV sotalol loading for patients with ventricular arrhythmias. This study aims to assess the safety, feasibility, and length of stay (LOS) outcomes of IV sotalol loading for the prevention of ventricular arrhythmias.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed of all patients undergoing IV sotalol loading and oral sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias, or IV sotalol loading for atrial arrhythmias between August 2021 and December 2023 at Northwestern University. Baseline characteristics, success of sotalol initiation/loading, changes in heart rate (HR) and QT/QTc, safety, and LOS were compared between patients undergoing sotalol loading/initiation for ventricular arrhythmias (IV vs. PO) and between patients undergoing IV sotalol loading for ventricular arrhythmias vs. for atrial arrhythmias.

RESULTS: A total of 28 patients underwent sotalol loading/initiation for ventricular arrhythmias (N = 15 IV and N = 13 PO) and 41 patients underwent IV sotalol loading for atrial arrhythmias. Baseline characteristics of congestive heart failure history and left ventricular ejection fraction were worse in the ventricular arrhythmias group. There was no significant difference in the successful completion of IV sotalol loading for ventricular arrhythmias compared to oral sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias or IV sotalol loading for atrial arrhythmias (86.7% vs. 92.3% vs. 90.2%, p = 0.88). There was a significant increase in ΔQTc following IV sotalol infusion for ventricular arrhythmias compared to following PO sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias (46.4 ± 29.2 ms vs. 8.9 ± 32.6 ms, p = 0.004) and following IV sotalol infusion for atrial arrhythmias (46.4 ± 29.2 ms vs. 24.0 ± 25.1 ms, p = 0.018). ΔHR following IV sotalol infusion for ventricular arrhythmias was similar to ΔHR following PO sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias and ΔHR following IV sotalol infusion for atrial arrhythmias (- 7.5 ± 8.7 bpm vs. - 8.5 ± 13.9 bpm vs. - 8.3 ± 13.2 bpm, p = 0.87). There were no significant differences in discontinuation for QTc prolongation (6.7% vs. 1.7% vs. 2.4%, p = 0.64) and bradycardia (13.3% vs. 7.7% vs. 9.8%, p = 0.88) between IV sotalol loading for ventricular arrhythmias, PO sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias, and IV sotalol loading for atrial arrhythmias. There were no instances of hypotension, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, heart failure, or death. Length of stay was significantly shorter for IV sotalol loading compared to PO sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias (1.1 ± 0.36 days vs. 4.2 ± 1.0 days, p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: IV sotalol loading appears feasible and safe for use in ventricular arrhythmias and results in a decreased length of stay. Despite increased comorbidities and greater increase in QTc interval following IV sotalol infusion in the ventricular arrhythmias group, there were no significant differences in successful completion of loading or adverse outcomes when compared to PO sotalol initiation for ventricular arrhythmias and IV loading for atrial arrhythmias.

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