The role of inflammation in the pathogenesis and treatment of arrhythmias

Anastasia L. Armbruster, Kristen Bova Campbell, Milan G. Kahanda, Phillip S. Cuculich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The pathogenesis of arrhythmias is complex and multifactorial. The role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of both atrial and ventricular arrhythmias (VA) has been explored. However, developing successful pharmacotherapy regimens based on those pathways has proven more of a challenge. This narrative review provides an overview of five common arrhythmias impacted by inflammation, including atrial fibrillation (AF), myocardial infarction, arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, cardiac sarcoidosis, and QT prolongation, and the potential role for anti-inflammatory therapy in their management. We identified arrhythmias and arrhythmogenic disease states with the most evidence linking pathogenesis to inflammation and conducted comprehensive searches of United States National Library of Medicine MEDLINE® and PubMed databases. Although a variety of agents have been studied for the management of AF, primarily in an effort to reduce postoperative AF following cardiac surgery, no standard anti-inflammatory agents are used in clinical practice at this time. Although inflammation following myocardial infarction may contribute to the development of VA, there is no clear benefit with the use of anti-inflammatory agents at this time. Similarly, although inflammation is clearly linked to the development of arrhythmias in arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, data demonstrating a benefit with anti-inflammatory agents are limited. Cardiac sarcoidosis, an infiltrative disease eliciting an immune response, is primarily treated by immunosuppressive therapy and steroids, despite a lack of primary literature to support such regimens. In this case, anti-inflammatory agents are frequently used in clinical practice. The pathophysiology of arrhythmias is complex, and inflammation likely plays a role in both onset and duration, however, for most arrhythmias the role of pharmacotherapy targeting inflammation remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-262
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • anti-inflammatories
  • arrhythmia
  • atrial fibrillation


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