Hemodynamic effects of intravenous and oral sotalol
Beta-adrenergic blocking agents may have negative inotropic effects that are particularly worrisome in patients with depressed cardiac function. Their membrane-stabilizing properties may be a contributing factor. Sotalol is currently thought not to cause significant myocardial depression. Intravenous sotalol administration has minimal effects on resting stroke volume, although heart rate and consequently cardiac output are significantly decreased. Systolic blood pressure decreases, with a minimal change in diastolic or mean pressure. Hemodynamic effects are usually seen within 15 to 20 minutes of administration. Hemodynamic indexes are maintained even in patients with mildly depressed ejection fractions (mean ejection fraction of 43 +/- 15%) after oral sotalol administration. Although heart rate decreases, cardiac index is unchanged because of a significant increase in stroke volume index. The latter results from an increase in preload (secondary to bradycardia) and a decrease in afterload. Sotalol is well tolerated, although occasionally it may cause worsening heart failure. This is seen in patients with markedly depressed left ventricular function and inadequate cardiac reserve characterized by an inability to increase stroke volume and cardiac output with exercise. Long-term (1-year) patient follow-up reveals no significant hemodynamic deterioration from initial values obtained after oral administration.