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Rare Incidence of Ventricular Tachycardia and Torsades de Pointes in Hospitalized Patients With Prolonged QT Who Later Received Levofloxacin: A Retrospective Study



      To determine the incidence of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in patients with prolonged corrected QT interval (QTc) who received levofloxacin through retrospective chart review at a tertiary care teaching hospital in the United States.

      Patients and Methods

      We selected 1004 consecutive hospitalized patients with prolonged QTc (>450 ms) between October 9, 2009 and June 12, 2012 at our institution. Levofloxacin was administered orally and/or intravenously and adjusted to renal function in the inpatient setting. The primary outcome measure was sustained ventricular tachycardia recorded electrocardiographically.


      With a median time from the start of levofloxacin use to hospital discharge (or death) of 4 days (range, 1-94 days), only 2 patients (0.2%; 95% CI, 0.0%-0.7%) experienced the primary outcome of sustained ventricular tachycardia after the initiation of levofloxacin use.


      In this study, the short-term risk for sustained ventricular tachycardia in patients with a prolonged QTc who subsequently received levofloxacin was very rare. These results suggest that levofloxacin may be a safe option in patients with prolonged QTc; however, studies with longer follow-up are needed.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      ECG (electrocardiogram), HERG (human-a-go-go-ether-related gene), QTc (corrected QT interval)
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