Anterior pericardial access to facilitate electrophysiology study and catheter ablation of ventricular arrhythmias: A single tertiary center experience

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Introduction:Epicardial ablation is becoming an important part of management in patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT). Posterior epicardial access via the Sosa or needle-in-needle (NIN) approach for epicardial VT ablation is considered to be the method of choice for most electrophysiologists. Anterior epicardial access as an alternative technique has recently been proposed, but there are limited data about its safety, efficacy, and the rate of immediate complications. In this study, we report our experience with anterior epicardial access between 2009 and 2016.Methods:Between 2009 and June 2016, 100 consecutive patients underwent epicardial VT ablation using an anterior approach. The success rate, epicardial bleeding, and other complications related to the epicardial access in these patients were compared to the previously reported rate of complications in patients whom epicardial access was performed using the NIN or Sosa techniques.Results:Anterior epicardial access was obtained successfully in 100% of patients in the first attempt. The success rate of the anterior approach was comparable with the reported success rate of the NIN technique (100% vs. 100%, P value not significant) but better than the Sosa technique (100% vs. 94%, P = 0.012). None of the patients in the anterior approach series suffered from significant pericardial bleeding (defined as greater than 80 mL of blood loss), RV puncture/damage, or need for an emergent cardiac surgery.Conclusion:An anterior epicardial approach is feasible and appears to have an acceptable safety profile in comparison with other epicardial approaches.

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