The cardiac arrhythmia suppression trial: First CAST ... then CAST-II

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Cardiology








The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST) was a study designed to test the hypothesis that suppression of ventricular premature complexes after a myocardial infarction would improve survival. Preliminary results showed that suppression of ventricular premature complexes with encainide and flecainide worsened survival, and the CAST continued as the CAST-II with moricizine compared with its placebo. The protocol for the CAST-II was changed to attempt to enroll patients more likely to experience serious arrhythmias. The enrollment time was narrowed to 4 to 90 days after myocardial infarction; the qualifying ejection fraction was lowered to <-0.40; a higher dose of moricizine could be used; early titration itself was double-blind with a placebo, and the definition of disqualifying ventricular tachycardia was changed to allow patients with more serious arrhythmias to be entered into the trial. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial-II was subsequently terminated prematurely because 1) patients treated with moricizine had an excessive cardiac mortality rate during the 1st 2 weeks of exposure to the drug, and 2) there appeared to be little chance of showing a long-term survival benefit from treatment with moricizine. This report outlines the rationale behind the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial and the reasons for selection of the drugs used in the CAST and CAST-II. © 1992.