Surgical management of ventricular tachycardia

Sara J. Shumway, Eric M. Johnson, Charles A. Svendsen, Jolene M. Kriett, W. Steves Ring

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Background. Ventricular tachyarrhythmias are the leading cause of death from coronary artery disease. A small percentage of these arrhythmias originate in chronically ischemic myocardium, rather than acutely ischemic myocardium, and can be refractory to medical management. Epicardial mapping and focal cryoablation of loci demonstrating early activation may provide definitive therapy when pharmacologic management fails. We report a series of 42 consecutive patients with refractory ventricular tachycardia (VT) who were treated with open epicardial mapping and focal cryoablation after pharmacologic management failed. Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients who underwent surgical treatment of malignant VT. For patients not recently seen in the clinic, we conducted telephone interviews. At the time of operation, epicardial mapping was performed to locate foci of early electrical activation. These loci were then cryoablated, using 2- minute applications of liquid nitrogen-cooled probes. All patients underwent postoperative electrophysiologic studies to test for inducible VT. Results. Of these 42 patients, 34 (81%) were male, 8 (19%) female. Average age was 62.9 ± 10.6 years; ejection fraction, 0.20 (range, 0.04 to 0.50); and number of foci ablated, 2.1 ± 1.1 (range, 1 to 6). At the time of cryoablation, all patients underwent additional procedures, including aneurysmectomy, coronary artery bypass, or valve replacement. The 30-day operative mortality was 9.5% (4 of 42). Of the 38 survivors, 36 (94.7%) were clinically free of VT; the remaining 2 had spontaneous or inducible VT. Conclusions. Open cryoablation of foci propagating VT appears to be safe and effective. It may be the most definitive treatment for malignant VT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1589-1591
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


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