Lignocaine is a stable local anaesthetic which rapidly diffuses through tissues. Like quinidine and procainamide it reduces ventricular irritability.1 2 Clinical studies indicate that it can readily control ventricular arrhythmias without important lowering of blood pressure or reduction of myocardial contractility,3–9which are common after procainamide3 and quinidine. Intravenous lignocaine has therefore become the preferred drug for treating most types of acute ventricular arrhythmias. The treatment seems to have spread rapidly because clinicians are impressed by experience with it; numerous reports of clinical series have been published, but no controlled trials.
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