Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Vaughan Williams classification of antiarrhythmic drugs

Hayes, Denise Drummond MSN, RN, CRNP

doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000545016.06414.8a
Department: Drug Challenge

Vaughan Williams classes of antiarrhythmic drugs

Denise Drummond Hayes is a Basic Life Support/Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support instructor at Temple University Hospital System, American Heart Association Training Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and the senior clinical editor for Nursing2018.

Unless otherwise specified, the information in the preceding summaries applies to adults, not children. Consult the package insert for information about each drug's safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also consult a pharmacist, the package insert, or a comprehensive drug reference for more details on precautions, drug interactions, and adverse reactions.

CAN YOU IDENTIFY these Vaughan Williams classes of antiarrhythmic drugs? Match the Vaughan Williams class in Section I with its description in Section II.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Section I

_____ 1. Class I

_____ 2. Class II

_____ 3. Class III

_____ 4. Class IV

Back to Top | Article Outline

Section II

a. These drugs block calcium channels, resulting in decreased action potential generation and slowed conduction through the atrioventricular (AV) node. Examples include verapamil and diltiazem.

b. These drugs inhibit sympathetic activity, primarily by causing beta blockade. The result is decreased heart rate, cardiac excitability, and cardiac output, as well as slowed AV node conduction. Examples include propranolol, esmolol, timolol, metoprolol, and atenolol.

c. These drugs block potassium channels and prolong the action potential duration, repolarization, and the refractory period. Examples include amiodarone, sotalol, ibutilide, and dofetilide.

d. Three different subclasses of these drugs modulate or block sodium channels in the cell membrane, resulting in decreased depolarization and automaticity of ventricular cells and increased ventricular fibrillation threshold. Examples include lidocaine, quinidine, procainamide, flecainide, and propafenone.

References available upon request.

ANSWERS: 1(d), 2(b), 3(c), 4(a)

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.