Ventricular Tachycardia in Patients With Nonischemic Cardiomyopathy

How to Cite This Chapter: Acosta Velez JG, Amit G, Hernández Ruiz EA, Trusz-Gluza M, Leśniak W. Ventricular Tachycardia in Patients with Nonischemic Cardiomyopathy. McMaster Textbook of Internal Medicine. Kraków: Medycyna Praktyczna. Accessed July 23, 2024.
Last Updated: June 20, 2022
Last Reviewed: June 20, 2022
Chapter Information

Definition, Etiology, PathogenesisTop

Cardiomyopathies with or without depressed left ventricular (LV) function may be associated with ventricular arrhythmias, most commonly paroxysmal monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT). These arrhythmias are more common in the presence of a myocardial scar.

Patients with dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can present with monomorphic VT or with ventricular fibrillation (VF) usually coming from the LV. In arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, monomorphic VT is most frequently originating in the right ventricle, thus having a left bundle branch block (LBBB) appearance.

Clinical Features and Natural HistoryTop

Clinical features depend on the VT rate and severity of cardiomyopathy. VT episodes may be recurrent and increase the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD).


Like in patients after myocardial infarction (MI), the myocardial origin of the monomorphic VT can be inferred by the electrocardiographic (ECG) appearance (right bundle branch block [RBBB]-like vs LBBB-like when coming from the left or right ventricle, respectively) and the axis (superior if QRS is negative in the inferior leads or inferior if positive in the inferior leads).

Bundle branch reentrant VT is a rare type of VT that can occur in patients with cardiomyopathy and abnormal His-Purkinje conduction (wide baseline QRS). It is a circuit that uses both bundle branches. Usually the myocardium is activated by the right bundle, which is why the VT has an LBBB appearance.


Classification of antiarrhythmic drugs: see Table 1 in Cardiac Arrhythmias.

Antiarrhythmic agents: see Table 2 in Cardiac Arrhythmias.

1. Treatment includes beta-blockers and antiarrhythmics, usually amiodarone or sotalol. Class I antiarrhythmic agents (flecainide, propafenone) are generally contraindicated in these cases. Ablation may reduce the burden of VT, although results are not as good as in ischemic VT ablation. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is almost always indicated in patients who have had VT or VF episodes and in specific populations as a prophylactic indication (based on LV ejection fraction). Indications for prophylactic ICD implantation in patients with cardiomyopathy to prevent SCD: see Sudden Cardiac Death.

2. In patients with bundle branch reentrant VT, the recommended treatment is catheter ablation. Patients may require permanent pacing after the procedure. Antiarrhythmic therapy is usually ineffective.

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