- Remote monitoring (RM) of cardiac implantable devices is rapidly becoming the standard of care for implantable cardiac device follow-up.
- Since its introduction, percutaneous epicardial access is increasingly being performed to facilitate catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardias (VTs) with epicardial circuits, difficult cases of idiopathic VTs, focal atrial tachycardia, and accessory pathways that cannot be successfully targeted endocardially.1 A thorough understanding of the clinical anatomy and potential complications is vital in order to perform a safe procedure.2 In this article, we present the clinical anatomy related to epicardial access, the technique of performing a subxiphoid epicardial puncture, and various measures to prevent complications.
- A majority of patients with structural heart disease and scar-related ventricular tachycardia (VT) have fast, hemodynamically unstable VT.1 In fact, up to one-fifth of the patients have only unstable VT, which precludes detailed activation and entrainment mapping.2 In addition, even in those with well-tolerated VT, procedural success can be complicated by acute heart failure as a consequence of prolonged episodes of induced VT and intravascular volume expansion; and one consequence of this acute decompensated heart failure is a significant increase in the short-term morbidity and mortality of the procedure.
- Percutaneous epicardial access (Figs. 1A and 1B) has gained wide acceptance as an interventional technique to access the pericardial space. Since its initial description1 in targeting epicardial circuits of ventricular tachycardia (VT) in patients with Chagasic cardiomyopathy, percutaneous epicardial access and ablation has come to play an important role in interventional electrophysiology. This technique has been recognized as a vital addition to catheter ablation of certain cardiac arrhythmias and for the delivery of newer investigational devices such as epicardial suture ligation of the left atrial appendage.
- An electroanatomical mapping system is a useful tool for complex arrhythmia ablation. The system reconstructs the precise 3-dimensional chamber of interest with electrical and anatomical information. There are several technical aspects that physicians should be aware of to maximize its efficacy. This review provides relevant information on troubleshooting of the mapping system.