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Modified sympathicotomy in patients with refractory ventricular tachycardia and structural heart disease: a single-center experience.

BACKGROUND: Modified cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) with stellate ganglion (SG) sparing is a novel technique for cardiac neuromodulation in patients with refractory ventricular tachycardia (VT).

OBJECTIVES: Our aim is to describe the mid- to long-term clinical outcome of the modified CSD with SG sparing in a series of patients with structural heart disease (SHD) and refractory VT.

METHODS: All consecutive patients with SHD and refractory VT undergoing modified CSD were enrolled. Baseline clinical characteristics and periprocedural data were collected for all patients. The primary outcome was any recurrence of sustained VT.

RESULTS: We enrolled 15 patients (age: 69.2 ± 7.9 years; male 100%) undergoing modified CSD. Left ventricular ejection fraction was 37 ± 11% and all patients had an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD); the underlying cardiomyopathy was non-ischemic in 73.3% of them. At least one previous ablation had been attempted in 66.6% of cases. The 73.3% of patients underwent bilateral CSD and the mean effective surgical time was 10.8 ± 2.4 min per side; no major periprocedural complication occurred. After a median follow-up time of 15 months (IQR: 8.5-24.5 months), the primary outcome occurred in 47.6% of cases. All patients experienced a reduction of ICD shocks after CSD (3.1 ICD shocks/patient before vs. 0.3 ICD shocks/patient after CSD; p-value: 0.001). Bilateral CSD and a VT cycle length < 340 ms were associated with better outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: A modified CSD approach with stellate ganglion sparing appears to be safe, fast, and effective in the treatment of patients with SHD and refractory VTs.

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