Cardiology in the Young

Original Articles

Ventricular tachycardia in infants with structurally normal heart: a benign disorder

Mark D. Levina1a2, Paul Stephensa1, Ronn E. Tanela1a3, Victoria L. Vettera1 and Larry A. Rhodesa1 c1

a1 Division of Cardiology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

a2 Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

a3 Children’s Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, United States of America


We evaluated the presentation, treatment, and outcome of infants who present with ventricular tachycardia in the first year of life. Seventy-six infants were admitted to our institution with a diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia between January, 1987 and May, 2006. Forty-five infants were excluded from the study because of additional confounding diagnoses including accelerated idioventricular rhythm, Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, supraventricular tachycardia with aberrancy, long QT syndrome, cardiac rhabdomyoma, myocarditis, congenital lesions, or incomplete data. The remaining 31 included infants who had a median age at presentation of 1 day, with a range from 1 to 255 days, and a mean ventricular tachycardia rate of 213 beats per minute, with a range from 171 to 280, at presentation. The infants were treated chronically with propranolol (38.7%), amiodarone (12.9%), mexiletine (3.2%), propranolol and mexiletine (9.7%), or propranolol and procainamide (6.5%). The median duration of treatment was 13 months, with a range from 3 to 105 months. Ventricular tachycardia resolved spontaneously in all infants. No patient died, or received catheter ablation or device therapy. Median age at last ventricular tachycardia was 59 days, with a range from 1 to 836 days. Mean follow-up was 45 months, with a range from 5 to 164 months, with a mean ventricular tachycardia-free period of 40 months. Infants with asymptomatic ventricular tachycardia, a structurally normal heart, and no additional electrophysiological diagnosis all had spontaneous resolution of tachycardia. Furthermore, log-rank analysis of the time to ventricular tachycardia resolution showed no difference between children who received chronic outpatient anti-arrhythmic treatment and those who had no such therapy. While indications for therapy cannot be determined from this study, lack of symptoms or myocardial dysfunction suggests that therapy may not be necessary.

(Received November 16 2009)

(Accepted June 06 2010)

(Online publication August 20 2010)


c1 Correspondence to: L. A. Rhodes, MD, Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University School of Medicine, 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506, United States of America. Tel: 304 293 7036; Fax: 304 293 1409; E-mail: