Dysrhythmias caused by histamine release in guinea pig and human hearts. Academic Article uri icon


  • Histamine is released into the systemic circulation during anaphylaxis, by drugs and by surgical procedures. Studies in animal models have conclusively demonstrated that released cardiac histamine is a major mediator of arrhythmias that occur during anaphylaxis and following the administration of histamine-releasing drugs. Several lines of evidence suggest a similar arrhythmogenic role for cardiac histamine in humans: (1) The human heart is rich in histamine; (2) cardiac histamine can be readily released from human heart in vitro by therapeutic concentrations of drugs; (3) histamine has potent arrhythmogenic effects on the human heart in vitro. Arrhythmogenic effects of histamine include enhancement of normal automaticity, induction of abnormal automaticity, induction of triggered tachyarrhythmias, depression of atrioventricular conduction, and increase in the vulnerability of the ventricles to fibrillation. A combination of H1 and H2 antihistamines is needed to block the arrhythmogenic effects of histamine. Certain arrhythmogenic effects of histamine (e.g. induction of slow responses and delayed afterdepolarizations) can also be blocked by drugs which inhibit the influx of cations through slow channels. In contrast, the commonly-used drug digitalis potentiates the arrhythmogenic effects of histamine. We propose that histamine release produced by drugs and surgical procedures may be an overlooked factor in fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Experimental studies suggest that selective pharmacological methods can be developed to block the arrhythmogenic effects of histamine.

published proceedings

  • Klin Wochenschr

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Levi, R., Chenouda, A. A., Trzeciakowski, J. P., Guo, Z. G., Aaronson, L. M., Luskind, R. D., ... Alexander, J. C.

citation count

  • 60

publication date

  • September 1982