Background: Tachycardia and atrial fibrillation frequently occur in patients being treated for sepsis or septic shock and have a poor prognosis. Treatments for tachyarrhythmias are often ineffective or contraindicated in this setting. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of landiolol, an ultra-short-acting β-blocker, for treating sepsis-related tachyarrhythmias. Methods: We did a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial at 54 hospitals in Japan. Patients admitted to the intensive care units who received conventional treatment for sepsis, according to clinical guidelines for the management of sepsis, and who subsequently developed a tachyarrhythmia, were enrolled. The main inclusion criteria were 20 years of age or older, diagnosis of sepsis according to Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock criteria, administration of catecholamine necessary to maintain mean arterial pressure at 65 mm Hg or more for at least 1 h, and heart rate of 100 beats per min (bpm) or more maintained for at least 10 min without a change in catecholamine dose with diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, or sinus tachycardia. Only patients who developed these symptoms and signs within 24 h before randomisation, and within 72 h after entering an intensive care unit, were prospectively assigned to receive conventional sepsis therapy alone (control group) or conventional sepsis therapy plus landiolol (landiolol group) in an open-label manner. Landiolol hydrochloride was intravenously infused at an initial dose of 1 μg/kg per min within 2 h after randomisation and the dose could be increased per study protocol to a maximum of 20 μg/kg per min. Patients in both groups received conventional therapy (Japanese Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock 2016), including respiratory and fluid resuscitation, antimicrobials, and catecholamines. The treating physicians were required to stabilise the patient's haemodynamic status before randomisation. Randomisation was done using a central randomisation system and dynamic allocation with the minimisation method by institution, heart rate at randomisation (≥100 to <120 bpm or ≥120 bpm), and age (<70 years or ≥70 years). The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with heart rate of 60–94 bpm at 24 h after randomisation. Patients without heart rate data at 24 h after randomisation were handled as non-responders. The primary outcome was analysed using the full analysis set on an as-assigned basis, while safety was analysed using the safety analysis set according to the treatment received. This study was registered with the Japan Pharmaceutical Information Center Clinical Trials Information database, number JapicCTI-173767. Findings: Between Jan 16, 2018 and Apr 22, 2019, 151 patients were randomly assigned, 76 to the landiolol group and 75 to the control group. A significantly larger proportion of patients in the landiolol group had a heart rate of 60–94 bpm 24 h after randomisation than in the control group (55% [41 of 75] vs 33% [25 of 75]), with a between-group difference of 23·1% (95% CI 7·1–37·5; p=0·0031). Adverse events were observed in 49 (64%) of 77 patients in the landiolol group and in 44 (59%) of 74 in the control group, with serious adverse events (including adverse events leading to death) in nine (12%) of 77 and eight (11%) of 74 patients. Serious adverse events related to landiolol occurred in five (6%) of 77 patients, including blood pressure decreases in three patients (4%) and cardiac arrest, heart rate decrease, and ejection fraction decrease occurred in one patient each (1%). Interpretation: Landiolol resulted in significantly more patients with sepsis-related tachyarrhythmia achieving a heart rate of 60–94 bpm at 24 h and significantly reduced the incidence of new-onset arrhythmia. Landiolol was also well tolerated, but it should be used under appropriate monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate owing to the risk of hypotension in patients with sepsis and septic shock. Funding: Ono Pharmaceutical Co.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine