Effect of the antipsychotic drug haloperidol on arrhythmias during acute myocardial infarction in a porcine model

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Patients receiving psychiatric medication, like the antipsychotic drug haloperidol, are at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Haloperidol blocks the cardiac rapidly-activating delayed rectifier potassium current, thereby increasing electrical dispersion of repolarization which can potentially lead to arrhythmias. Whether these patients are also at a higher risk to develop SCD during an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is unknown. AMI locally shortens action potential duration, which might further increase repolarization dispersion and increase the risk of arrhythmia in the presence of haloperidol compared to without. Our aim was to test whether treatment with haloperidol implies an increased risk of SCD when eventually experiencing AMI. Twenty-eight female Danish Landrace pigs were randomized into three groups: low dose haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg), high dose (1.0 mg/kg) or vehicle-control group. One hour after haloperidol/vehicle infusion, AMI was induced by balloon-occlusion of the mid-left anterior descending coronary artery and maintained for 120 min, followed by 60 min of reperfusion. VF occurred during occlusion in 7/11 pigs in the control group, 3/11 in the low dose (p = 0.198) and 2/6 in the high dose group (p = 0.335). High dose haloperidol significantly prolonged QT, and reduced heart rate, vascular resistance and blood pressure before and during AMI. Premature ventricular contractions in phase 1b during AMI were reduced with high dose haloperidol. AMI-induced arrhythmia was not aggravated in pigs with haloperidol treatment. Our results do not suggest that AMI is contributing to the excess mortality in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs seen in epidemiological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100455
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Acute myocardial infarction, Antipsychotic drugs, Haloperidol, Porcine model, Sudden cardiac death, Ventricular fibrillation

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