INTRODUCTION: Sotalol is an anti-arrhythmic drug commonly used for the treatment of pathologic tachyarrhythmias in dogs. The β-adrenergic blockade associated with sotalol administration may result in reduced myocardial contractility, which is clinically relevant for treating dogs with arrhythmias and concurrent myocardial dysfunction. The inotropic properties of sotalol are not well characterized in dogs.
ANIMALS, MATERIALS, AND METHODS: Ten healthy, adult, large breed dogs were prospectively enrolled. All dogs underwent physical examination, blood pressure measurement, electrocardiography, 24-h Holter monitoring, and echocardiography including three-dimensional left ventricular volume measurements. Dogs were subsequently administered sotalol (1-2 mg/kg) orally twice daily for 12-16 days, and the same diagnostic tests were performed. Paired statistical analysis was used to compare parameters at baseline and after treatment with sotalol.
RESULTS: Standard echocardiographic parameters of systolic function were reduced on sotalol compared to baseline, including ejection fraction via Simpson's method of disks which was 5.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.77-8.83%, p = 0.002) lower post-treatment. Maximum heart rate on Holter monitor was 17 bpm (95% CI: 9-37 bpm, p = 0.002) lower post-treatment than at baseline.
CONCLUSIONS: Sotalol has a mild negative inotropic effect in healthy dogs based on standard echocardiographic measurements. There is also a negative chronotropic effect at higher heart rates based on 24-h Holter monitoring.