Value of mapping and ablation of ventricular tachycardia targets within the coronary venous system in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy

Published:January 16, 2020DOI:


      Patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) often require epicardial ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation procedures via subxiphoid access. The coronary venous system (CVS) provides limited access to the epicardial space.


      The purpose of this study was to determine the value of an approach targeting the CVS in these patients.


      In a series of 41 consecutive patients (mean age 59.7 ± 11.5 years; 36 men [88%]; ejection fraction 34.5% ± 13.1%; 269 inducible VTs [6.6 ± 5.0 VTs per patient]) with NICM and VT, mapping and ablation were performed sequentially at the endocardium, then within the CVS, and finally within the pericardial space if required.


      VT target sites were identified within the CVS in 15 patients and by subxiphoid access to the pericardial space in 8 patients. Ablation within the CVS eliminated VT inducibility in 9 patients without the need for epicardial ablation. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that the CVS was closer to a scarred area in patients with CVS-related VT target sites than in other patients (mean 3.5 ± 3.9 mm vs 14.3 ± 8.3 mm; P < .001). A cutoff distance of ≤9 mm from the scar (area under the curve 0.91; 95% confidence interval 0.82–0.99; sensitivity 0.78; specificity 0.93) identified patients with vs patients without VT target sites within the CVS.


      A stepwise approach with mapping/ablation in the endocardium followed by ablation within the CVS can reduce the need for subxiphoid epicardial access in some patients with NICM. Proximity of the scar to the CVS detected by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging can identify the patients most likely to benefit from this approach.


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