- The left atrial appendage (LAA) has been demonstrated to be the major source of thromboemboli in patients with atrial fibrillation.1 The rationale of LAA closure is based on eliminating LAA continuity with the left atrium (LA), thereby reducing stroke risk. Indeed, left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) procedures play an important role in anticoagulation-intolerant patients who are at risk for atrial fibrillation–related stroke. Based on the PROTECT AF (Watchman Left Atrial Appendage System for Embolic PROTECTion in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation)2 and PREVAIL (Prospective Randomized Evaluation of the WATCHMAN LAA Closure Device in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation [AF] Versus Long Term Warfarin Therapy)3 studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of the Watchman (Boston Scientific, Marlborough, MA) device in 2015, with an updated generation of device subsequently ratified in 2020 following the PINNACLE-FLX (Protection Against Embolism for Nonvalvular AF Patients: Investigational Device Evaluation of the Watchman FLX LAA Closure Technology) study.
- Catheter ablation is increasingly used for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. In the 1990s, in order to treat ventricular arrhythmias resulting from chagasic cardiomyopathy, Sosa et al1 developed a technique to enter the pericardium percutaneously in the absence of a pericardial effusion. Since then, “dry” epicardial access has become a regular part of complex catheter ablation. In this review, we concentrate on the technical aspects of performing epicardial ablation for ventricular tachycardia (VT), including the management of potential complications.
- The arrhythmogenicity of the vein of Marshall (VoM) in atrial fibrillation (AF) has been known for more than 20 years.1 A recent randomized trial showed a reduced odds ratio (0.63; 95% confidence interval 0.41–0.97; P = .04) for the primary outcome of AF or atrial tachycardia (AT) recurrence in patients with persistent AF by adding VoM ethanol infusion (VoM-Et) to the standard ablation approach.2 The VoM is involved in 30% of ATs after AF ablation, and VoM ablation significantly improves the freedom from recurrent arrhythmia.