One might occasionally hear it being referred to as the "Vaughan and Williams" or "Vaughan-Williams" classification, which is, of course, inaccurate because it is named after Miles Vaughan Williams, the celebrated pharmacologist and ninety-year-old fitness guru. His classification system was first presented in April of 1970, at the Symposium on Cardiac Arrhythmias in Elsinore, Denmark (yes, that Elsinore).
Vaughan-Williams classification (four classes). Drugs may have multiple classes of action e.g. amiodarone shares all four classes of action. Certain agents do not fit this classification scheme: Adenosine, Magnesium.
Indications of, and mechanism of action for, the various
classes of antiarrhythmic drugs...
Antiarrhythmic agents are a group of pharmaceuticals that are used to suppress fast rhythms of the heart (cardiac arrhythmias), such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.
While the use of antiarrhythmic agents to suppress atrial arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter) is still in practice, it is unclear whether suppression of atrial arrhythmias will prolong life,
There are many medications in the antiarrhythmic category. To help make things simple, medical professionals and pharmacists follow the Vaughan Williams classification which classifies anti arrhythmic drugs into five different types.
Despite the fact that AFFIRM and other studies failed to show any apparent benefit from an antiarrhythmic drug-based rhythm control strategy, the lure of sinus rhythm continues to influence practice in the United States, where one or more attempts to restore and maintain sinus rhythm are often implemented before “giving up” and accepting a rate control strategy.
Although used as an AAD from the 1950s to the 1970s, phenytoin has become obsolete in recent decades due to the arrival of newer and less toxic agents.
In general, AADs should not be started during/following the first AF episode, unless the symptoms are so dramatic that a recurrence could threaten mortality or rapid hospitalization.
Antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) can be used for acute or chronic therapy to prevent ventricular arrhythmias and SCD
The antiarrhythmic medications have typically been categorized according to the Vaughan-Williams (VW) classification system. The system classifies the medications according to the main mechanism of action (although several of the agents retain properties from multiple classes).