Publications by authors named "David J Callans"

324 Publications

Interatrial septal tachycardias following atrial fibrillation ablation or cardiac surgery: Electrophysiological features and ablation outcomes.

Heart Rhythm 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Interatrial septal tachycardias (IAS-ATs) following atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation or cardiac surgery are rare, and their management is challenging.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the electrophysiological features and outcomes associated with catheter ablation of IAS-AT.

Methods: We screened 338 patients undergoing catheter ablation of ATs following AF ablation or cardiac surgery. Diagnosis of IAS-AT was based on activation mapping and analysis of response to atrial overdrive pacing.

Results: Twenty-nine patients (9%) had IAS-AT (cycle length [CL] 311 ± 104 ms); 16 (55%) had prior AF ablation procedures (median 3; range 1-5), 3 (10%) had prior surgical maze, and 12 (41%) had prior cardiac surgery (including atrial septal defect surgical repair in 5 and left atrial myxoma resection in 1). IAS substrate abnormalities were documented in all patients. Activation mapping always demonstrated a diffuse early IAS breakout with centrifugal biatrial activation, and atrial overdrive pacing showed a good postpacing interval (equal or within 25 ms of the AT CL) only at 1 or 2 anatomically opposite IAS sites in all cases. Ablation was acutely successful in 27 patients (93%) (from only the right IAS in 2, only the left IAS in 9, both IAS sides with sequential ablation in 13, and both IAS sides with bipolar ablation in 3). After median follow-up of 15 (6-52) months, 17 patients (59%) remained free from recurrent arrhythmias.

Conclusion: IAS-ATs are rare and typically occur in patients with evidence of IAS substrate abnormalities and prior cardiac surgery. Catheter ablation can be challenging and may require sequential unipolar ablation or bipolar ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2021.04.036DOI Listing
May 2021

Association between insurance status and in-hospital outcomes in patients with out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation arrest.

Clin Cardiol 2021 Apr 4;44(4):511-517. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background: Lack of health insurance is associated with adverse clinical outcomes; however, the association between health insurance status and in-hospital outcomes after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation (OHVFA) arrest is unclear.

Hypothesis: Lack of health insurance is associated with worse in-hospital outcomes after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation arrest.

Methods: From January 2003 to December 2014, hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of OHVFA in patients ≥18 years of age were extracted from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Patients were categorized into insured and uninsured groups based on their documented health insurance status. Study outcome measures were in-hospital mortality, utilization of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), and cost of hospitalization. Inverse probability weighting adjusted binary logistic regression was performed to identify independent predictors of in-hospital mortality and ICD utilization and linear regression was performed to identify independent predictors of cost of hospitalization.

Results: Of 188 946 patients included in the final analyses, 178 005 (94.2%) patients were insured and 10 941 (5.8%) patients were uninsured. Unadjusted in-hospital mortality was higher (61.7% vs. 54.7%, p < .001) and ICD utilization was lower (15.3% vs. 18.3%, p < .001) in the uninsured patients. Lack of health insurance was independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality (O.R = 1.53, 95% C.I. [1.46-1.61]; p < .001) and lower utilization of ICD (O.R = 0.84, 95% C.I [0.79-0.90], p < .001). Cost of hospitalization was significantly higher in uninsured patients (median [interquartile range], p-value) ($) (39 650 [18 034-93 399] vs. 35 965 [14 568.50-96 163], p < .001).

Conclusion: Lack of health insurance is associated with higher in-hospital mortality, lower utilization of ICD and higher cost of hospitalization after OHVFA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/clc.23564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8027577PMC
April 2021

Active esophageal cooling for the prevention of thermal injury during atrial fibrillation ablation: a randomized controlled pilot study.

J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, 9 Founders Pavilion, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Background: Severe endoscopically detected esophageal thermal lesions (EDELs) have been associated with higher risk of progression to atrio-esophageal fistula (AEF) following radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) of atrial fibrillation (AF). We sought to evaluate safety and feasibility of active esophageal cooling using the Attune Medical Esophageal Heat Transfer Device (EnsoETM) to limit frequency or severity of EDELs.

Objective: We sought To evaluate safety and feasibility of active esophageal cooling using the Attune Medical Esophageal Heat Transfer Device (EnsoETM) to limit frequency or severity of EDELs METHODS: Consecutive patients undergoing first-time RFCA were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to esophageal cooling (device group) or standard temperature monitoring (control group). Ablation on the posterior wall was performed with a maximum power of 30W for up to 20s. All patients underwent EGD within 48 h. Endoscopy findings were classified as 1, erythema-mild injury; 2, superficial ulceration-moderate injury; 3, deep ulceration-significant injury; and 4, fistula/perforation. Severe EDELs were defined as grade 3 or 4 lesions.

Results: Forty-four patients completed the study (22 device group, 22 control group). Adjunctive posterior wall isolation was performed more frequently in the device group (11/22, 50% vs. 4/22, 18%). EDELs were detected in 5/22 (23%) control group patients, with mild or moderate injury in 2/5 patients (40%) and severe thermal injury in 3/5 patients (60%). In the device group, EDELs were detected in 8/22 (36%) patients, with mild or moderate injury in 7/8 (87%) patients and severe thermal injury in 1/8 (12%) patients. There was no acute perforation or AEF during follow-up.

Conclusions: Active esophageal cooling may reduce the occurrence of severe EDELs. A larger randomized study is warranted to further evaluate the benefit of this strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10840-021-00960-wDOI Listing
February 2021

Periprocedural Acute Kidney Injury in Patients With Structural Heart Disease Undergoing Catheter Ablation of VT.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 02 28;7(2):174-186. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to examine the impact of periprocedural acute kidney injury (AKI) in scar-related ventricular tachycardia (VT) patients undergoing radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) on short- and long-term outcomes.

Background: The clinical significance of periprocedural AKI in patients with scar-related VT undergoing RFCA has not been previously investigated.

Methods: This study included 317 consecutive patients with scar-related VT undergoing RFCA (age: 64 ± 13 years, mean left ventricular ejection fraction: 33 ± 13%, 55% ischemic cardiomyopathy). Periprocedural AKI was defined as an absolute increase in creatinine of ≥0.3 mg/dl over 48 h or an increase of >1.5× the baseline values within 1 week post-procedure.

Results: Periprocedural AKI occurred in 31 patients (10%). Independent predictors of AKI included chronic kidney disease (odds ratio [OR]: 3.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.48 to 7.96; p = 0.004), atrial fibrillation (OR: 2.42; 95% CI: 1.01 to 5.78; p = 0.047), and peri-procedural acute hemodynamic decompensation (OR: 3.98; 95% CI: 1.17 to 13.52; p = 0.003). After a median follow-up of 39 months (interquartile range: 6 to 65 months), 95 patients (30%) died. Periprocedural AKI was associated with increased risk of early mortality (within 30 days; hazard ratio [HR]: 9.91; 95% CI: 2.87 to 34.22; p < 0.001) and late mortality (within 1 year) (HR: 4.57; 95% CI: 2.08 to 10.05; p < 0.001). After multivariable adjustment, AKI remained independently associated with increased risk of early and late mortality (HR: 4.49; 95% CI: 1.1 to 18.36; p = 0.04, and HR: 3.28; 95% CI: 1.43 to 7.49; p = 0.005, respectively).

Conclusions: Periprocedural AKI occurs in 10% of patients undergoing RFCA of scar-related VT and is strongly associated with increased risk of early and late post-procedural mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.08.018DOI Listing
February 2021

Stroke, Timing of Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis, and Risk of Death.

Neurology 2021 03 3;96(12):e1655-e1662. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

From the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine (A.B., Y.B., M.C.H., J.A., D.J.C., N.C., S.D., A.E.E., D.S.F., F.C.G., R.K., J.J.L., D.L., S.N., M.P.R., P.S., R.D.S., G.E.S., F.M., R.D.), and Department of Neurology (S.R.M., S.E.K.), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Department of Biostatistics (R.K.), University of Washington, Seattle; and Division of Cardiology (P.J.P.), St. Vincent Medical Group, Indianapolis, IN.

Objective: To evaluate the prognosis of patients with ischemic stroke according to the timing of an atrial fibrillation (AF) diagnosis, we created an inception cohort of incident stroke events and compared the risk of death between patients with stroke with (1) sinus rhythm, (2) known AF (KAF), and (3) AF diagnosed after stroke (AFDAS).

Methods: We used the Penn AF Free study to create an inception cohort of patients with incident stroke. Mortality events were identified after linkage with the National Death Index through June 30, 2017. We also evaluated initiation of anticoagulants and antiplatelets across the study duration. Cox proportional hazards models evaluated associations between stroke subtypes and death.

Results: We identified 1,489 individuals who developed an incident ischemic stroke event: 985 did not develop AF at any point during the study period, 215 had KAF before stroke, 160 had AF detected ≤6 months after stroke, and 129 had AF detected >6 months after stroke. After a median follow-up of 4.9 years (interquartile range 1.9-6.8), 686 deaths occurred. The annualized mortality rate was 8.8% in the stroke, no AF group; 12.2% in the KAF group; 15.8% in the AFDAS ≤6 months group; and 12.7% in the AFDAS >6 months group. Patients in the AFDAS ≤6 months group had the highest independent risk of all-cause mortality even after multivariable adjustment for demographics, clinical risk factors, and the use of antithrombotic therapies (hazard ratio 1.62 [1.22-2.14]). Compared to the stroke, no AF group, those with KAF had a higher mortality risk that was rendered nonsignificant after adjustment.

Conclusions: The AFDAS group had the highest risk of death, which was not explained by comorbidities or use of antithrombotic therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011633DOI Listing
March 2021

Myocardial Substrate Characterization by CMR T Mapping in Patients With NICM and No LGE Undergoing Catheter Ablation of VT.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2021 Jan 20. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Background: A substantial proportion of patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NICM) and ventricular tachycardia (VT) do not have scar detectable by cardiac magnetic resonance late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. In these patients, the significance of diffuse fibrosis (DF) detected with T mapping has not been previously investigated.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to characterize the relationship between DF, the electroanatomic mapping (EAM) substrate, and outcomes of catheter ablation of VT in NICM.

Methods: This study included 51 patients with NICM and VT undergoing catheter ablation (median age 55 years; 77% male subjects) who had no evidence of LGE on pre-procedural cardiac magnetic resonance. Post-contrast T relaxation time determined on the septum was assessed as a surrogate of DF burden. The extent of endocardial low-voltage areas (LVAs) at EAM was correlated with T mapping data.

Results: Bipolar LVAs were present in 22 (43%) patients (median extent 15 [8 to 29] cm) and unipolar LVA in all patients (median extent 48 [26 to 120] cm). A significant inverse correlation was found between T values and both unipolar-LVA (R = 0.64; β = -0.85; p < 0.01) and bipolar-LVA (R = 0.16; β = -1.63; p < 0.01). After a median follow-up of 45 (22 to 57) months, 2 (4%) patients died, 3 (6%) underwent heart transplantation, and 8 (16%) experienced VT recurrence. Shorter post-contrast T time was associated with an increased risk of VT recurrence (hazard ratio: 1.16; 95% confidence interval: 1.03 to 1.33 per 10 ms decrease; p = 0.02).

Conclusions: In patients with NICM and no evidence of LGE undergoing catheter ablation of VT, DF estimated by using post-contrast T mapping correlates with the voltage abnormality at EAM and seems to affect post-ablation outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.10.002DOI Listing
January 2021

Prognostic Value of Nonischemic Ringlike Left Ventricular Scar in Patients With Apparently Idiopathic Nonsustained Ventricular Arrhythmias.

Circulation 2021 Apr 6;143(14):1359-1373. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Division (D.M., S.A.C., I.L., A.E., J.J.L., S.D., R.D., F.C.G., D.J.C., D.S.F., F.E.M., P.S.), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Background: Left ventricular (LV) scar on late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiac magnetic resonance has been correlated with life-threatening arrhythmic events in patients with apparently idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias (VAs). We investigated the prognostic significance of a specific LV-LGE phenotype characterized by a ringlike pattern of fibrosis.

Methods: A total of 686 patients with apparently idiopathic nonsustained VA underwent contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance. A ringlike pattern of LV scar was defined as LV subepicardial/midmyocardial LGE involving at least 3 contiguous segments in the same short-axis slice. The end point of the study was time to the composite outcome of all-cause death, resuscitated cardiac arrest because of ventricular fibrillation or hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia and appropriate implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy.

Results: A total of 28 patients (4%) had a ringlike pattern of scar (group A), 78 (11%) had a non-ringlike pattern (group B), and 580 (85%) had normal cardiac magnetic resonance with no LGE (group C). Group A patients were younger compared with groups B and C (median age, 40 vs 52 vs 45 years; <0.01), more frequently men (96% vs 82% vs 55%; <0.01), with a higher prevalence of family history of sudden cardiac death or cardiomyopathy (39% vs 14% vs 6%; <0.01) and more frequent history of unexplained syncope (18% vs 9% vs 3%; <0.01). All patients in group A showed VA with a right bundle-branch block morphology versus 69% in group B and 21% in group C (<0.01). Multifocal VAs were observed in 46% of group A patients compared with 26% of group B and 4% of group C (<0.01). After a median follow-up of 61 months (range, 34-84 months), the composite outcome occurred in 14 patients (50.0%) in group A versus 15 (19.0%) in group B and 2 (0.3%) in group C (<0.01). After multivariable adjustment, the presence of LGE with ringlike pattern remained independently associated with increased risk of the composite end point (hazard ratio, 68.98 [95% CI, 14.67-324.39], <0.01).

Conclusions: In patients with apparently idiopathic nonsustained VA, nonischemic LV scar with a ringlike pattern is associated with malignant arrhythmic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047640DOI Listing
April 2021

Continuous rhythm monitoring-guided anticoagulation after atrial fibrillation ablation.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 9;32(2):345-353. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) based on estimated stroke risk is recommended following catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF), regardless of the extent of arrhythmia control. However, discontinuing OAC in selected patients may be safe. We sought to evaluate a strategy of OAC discontinuation following AF ablation guided by continuous rhythm monitoring.

Methods And Results: We prospectively studied AF ablations performed at our institution from June 2015 to December 2019. Patients that had pre-existing cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) or underwent insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) implantation immediately following AF ablation were included. OAC was continued for 6 weeks following CA in all patients, following which OAC management was guided by CHA DS -VASc score and continuous rhythm monitoring results, according to a prespecified protocol. AF recurrence was defined as ≥30 s (CIEDs) or ≥2 min (ICM). We studied 196 patients (mean age 64.7 ± 11.3 years, 66.8% male, 85.7% ICM, 14.3% CIEDs). Mean CHA DS VASc score was 2.2  ± 1.5. One-year AF-free survival following CA was 83% for paroxysmal AF and 63% for persistent AF patients. Over 3 year follow-up, OAC was discontinued in 57 (33.7%) patients, mean 7.4 ± 7.1 months following ablation. Following discontinuation, OAC was restarted for AF recurrence in 9 (15.8%) patients, mean 11.7 ± 6.8 months after stopping. This discontinuation protocol led to a 21.9% reduction in overall time exposed to OAC. There were no thromboembolic or major bleeding events.

Conclusion: OAC can be discontinued in a significant percentage of patients following CA of AF. When guided by continuous rhythm monitoring, this practice does not unacceptably increase the risk of thromboembolic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14864DOI Listing
February 2021

Catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia in patients with prior cardiac surgery: An analysis from the International VT Ablation Center Collaborative Group.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 24;32(2):409-416. Epub 2021 Jan 24.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Introduction: Patients with prior cardiac surgery may represent a subgroup of patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT) that may be more difficult to control with catheter ablation.

Methods: We evaluated 1901 patients with ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy who underwent VT ablation at 12 centers. Clinical characteristics and VT radiofrequency ablation procedural outcomes were assessed and compared between those with and without prior cardiac surgery. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate freedom from recurrent VT and survival.

Results: There were 578 subjects (30.4%) with prior cardiac surgery identified in the cohort. Those with prior cardiac surgery were older (66.4 ± 11.0 years vs. 60.5 ± 13.9 years, p < .01), with lower left ventricular ejection fraction (30.2 ± 11.5% vs. 34.8 ± 13.6%, p < .01) and more ischemic heart disease (82.5% vs. 39.3%, p < .01) but less likely to undergo epicardial mapping or ablation (9.0% vs. 38.1%, p<.01) compared to those without prior surgery. When epicardial mapping was performed, a significantly greater proportion required surgical intervention for access (19/52 [36.5%] vs. 14/504 [2.8%]; p < .01). Procedural complications, including epicardial access-related complications, were lower (5.7% vs. 7.0%, p < .01) in patients with versus without prior cardiac surgery. VT-free survival (75.1% vs. 74.1%, p = .805) and survival (86.5% vs. 87.9%, p = .397) were not different between those with and without prior heart surgery, regardless of etiology of cardiomyopathy. VT recurrence was associated with increased mortality in patients with and without prior cardiac surgery.

Conclusion: Despite different clinical characteristics and fewer epicardial procedures, the safety and efficacy of VT ablation in patients with prior cardiac surgery is similar to others in this cohort. The incremental yield of epicardial mapping in predominant ischemic cardiomyopathy population prior heart surgery may be low but appears safe in experienced centers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14849DOI Listing
February 2021

Strategies for Catheter Ablation of Left Ventricular Papillary Muscle Arrhythmias: An Institutional Experience.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 10 16;6(11):1381-1392. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiology Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to address whether technological innovations such as contact force sensing (CFS) can improve acute and long-term ablation outcomes of left ventricular papillary muscle (LV PAP) ventricular arrhythmias (VAs).

Background: Catheter ablation of LV PAP VAs has been less efficacious than another focal VAs. It remains unclear whether technological innovations such as CFS can improve acute and long-term ablation outcomes of LV PAP VA.

Methods: From January 2015 to December 2019, a total of 137 patients underwent LV PAP VA ablation. VA site of origin (SOO) was identified using activation and pace-mapping guided by intracardiac echocardiography. Radiofrequency energy (20 to 50 W for 60 to 90 s) was delivered by irrigated catheter with or without CFS. We defined acute success as complete suppression of targeted VA ≥30 min post ablation and clinical success as ≥80% VA burden reduction at outpatient follow-up.

Results: VA manifested as premature ventricular complexes in 98 (71%), nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in 18 (13%), sustained ventricular tachycardia in 12 (9%) and premature ventricular complexes induced ventricular fibrillation in 9 (7%). VA SOO was anterolateral PAP in 51 (37%), posteromedial PAP in 73 (53%), and both PAPs in 13 (10%). VAs were targeted using CFS in 97 (71%) and non-CFS in 40 (29%). After a single procedure, acute success was achieved in 130 (95%) and clinical success was achieved in 112 (82%); neither was impacted by VA SOO and/or CFS. Complications occurred in 5 patients (3.6%).

Conclusion: Independent of CFS technology, intracardiac echocardiography-guided catheter ablation is highly efficacious and may be considered as first-line therapy in the management of LV PAP VA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.06.026DOI Listing
October 2020

Association of septal late gadolinium enhancement on cardiac magnetic resonance with ventricular tachycardia ablation targets in nonischemic cardiomyopathy.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 12 27;31(12):3262-3276. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, Cardiology and Electrophysiology Section, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background: Ablation of septal substrate-associated ventricular tachycardia (VT) in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) is challenging. We sought to standardize the characterization of septal substrates on late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and to examine the association of that substrate with VT exit and isthmus sites on invasive mapping.

Methods: LGE-CMR was performed before electroanatomic mapping and ablation for VT in 20 NICM patients. LGE extent and distribution were quantified using myocardial signal-intensity Z scores (SI-Z). The SI-Z thresholds correlating to previously validated voltage thresholds, for abnormal tissue and dense scar were defined.

Results: Bipolar and unipolar (electrogram) voltage amplitude measurements from the LV and RV were negatively associated with SI-Z from LGE-CMR imaging (p < .05). SI-Z thresholds for appropriate CMR identification of septal substrates were determined to be greater than -.15 for border zone and greater than .03 for a dense scar. Among all patients, 34 critical VT sites were identified with SI-Z distribution in the range of -.97 to .06. Thirty (88.2%) critical sites were located in the dense LGE, 1 (2.9%) in the border zone, and 3 (8.9%) in healthy tissue but within 7 mm of LGE. Of note, critical VT sites were all located at the basal septum close to valves (distance to aortic valve: 17.5 ± 31.2 mm, mitral valve: 21.2 ± 8.7 mm) in nonsarcoidosis cases.

Conclusions: Critical sites of septal VT in NICM patients are predominantly in the CMR defined dense scar when using standardized signal-intensity thresholds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14777DOI Listing
December 2020

Changes in quality of life, cognition and functional status following catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation.

Heart 2020 12 12;106(24):1919-1926. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Atrial Fibrillation NETwork association (AFNET), Munster, Germany.

Objective: To investigate changes in quality of life (QoL), cognition and functional status according to arrhythmia recurrence after atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation.

Methods: We compared QoL, cognition and functional status in patients with recurrent atrial tachycardia (AT)/AF versus those without recurrent AT/AF in the AXAFA-AFNET 5 clinical trial. We also sought to identify factors associated with improvement in QoL and functional status following AF ablation by overall change scores with and without analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).

Results: Among 518 patients who underwent AF ablation, 154 (29.7%) experienced recurrent AT/AF at 3 months. Patients with recurrent AT/AF had higher mean CHADS-VASc scores (2.8 vs 2.3, p<0.001) and more persistent forms of AF (51 vs 39%, p=0.012). Median changes in the SF-12 physical (3 (25th, 75th: -1, 8) vs 1 (-5, 8), p=0.026) and mental scores (2 (-3, 9) vs 0 (-4, 5), p=0.004), EQ-5D (0 (0,2) vs 0 (-0.1, 0.1), p=0.027) and Karnofsky functional status scores (10 (0, 10) vs 0 (0, 10), p=0.001) were more favourable in patients without recurrent AT/AF. In the overall cohort, the proportion with at least mild cognitive impairment (Montreal Cognitive Assessment <26) declined from 30.3% (n=157) at baseline to 21.8% (n=113) at follow-up. ANCOVA identified greater improvement in Karnofsky functional status (p<0.001) but not SF-12 physical (p=0.238) or mental scores (p=0.065) in those without recurrent AT/AF compared with patients with recurrent AT/AF.

Conclusions: Patients without recurrent AT/AF appear to experience greater improvement in functional status but similar QoL as those with recurrent AT/AF after AF ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-316612DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719908PMC
December 2020

Outcomes of Percutaneous Trans-Right Atrial Access to the Left Ventricle for Catheter Ablation of Ventricular Tachycardia in Patients With Mechanical Aortic and Mitral Valves.

JAMA Cardiol 2020 Sep 30. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Importance: In patients with mechanical valves in the aortic and mitral positions, percutaneous access to the left ventricle (LV) via a transfemoral approach for catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia (VT) has been considered infeasible.

Objective: To describe the outcomes of a novel percutaneous trans-right atrial (RA) access to the LV via a femoral venous approach for catheter ablation of VT in patients with mechanical aortic and mitral valves.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This observational study included consecutive patients with mechanical valves in the aortic and mitral positions and recurrent monomorphic drug-refractory VT associated with an LV substrate. Percutaneous LV access was performed from a transfemoral venous route with the aid of a deflectable sheath and a radiofrequency wire by creating an iatrogenic Gerbode defect with direct puncture of the inferior and medial aspect of the RA, adjacent to the inferior-septal process of the LV (ISP-LV), under intracardiac echography guidance. Once the wire crossed to the LV, balloon dilatation of the ventriculotomy site (with a noncompliant balloon; diameter, 8 to 10 mm) was performed to facilitate passage of the sheath within the LV.

Exposures: Percutaneous trans-RA access to the LV via puncture of the ISP-LV to perform catheter ablation of VT in patients with mechanical aortic and mitral valves.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Feasibility and safety of a trans-RA access to the LV for catheter ablation of VT.

Results: A total of 4 patients (mean [SD] age, 60 [7] years; mean [SD] LV ejection fraction, 31% [9%]) with recurrent VT associated with an LV substrate (ischemic cardiomyopathy, 3 patients; nonischemic cardiomyopathy, 1 patient) and mechanical valves in the aortic and mitral position underwent trans-RA access through the ISP-LV for catheter ablation of VT. The time to obtain LV access ranged from 60 minutes (first case) to 22 minutes (last case) (mean [SD], 36 [15] minutes). No complications associated with the access occurred. In particular, in the 3 patients with preserved atrioventricular conduction at baseline, no new conduction abnormalities were observed after the access. Complete VT noninducibility at programmed ventricular stimulation was achieved in 3 cases, and no patient had VT recurrence at a median follow-up of 14 months (range, 6-21 months).

Conclusions And Relevance: A percutaneous trans-RA access to the LV via a femoral venous approach for catheter ablation of VT in patients with mechanical aortic and mitral valves is feasible and appears safe. This novel technique may allow for catheter ablation of VT in a population of patients in whom conventional LV access via retrograde aortic or atrial transseptal routes is not possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.4414DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941197PMC
September 2020

Ablation of Ventricular Arrhythmias From the Left Ventricular Apex in Patients Without Ischemic Heart Disease.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 09 27;6(9):1089-1102. Epub 2020 May 27.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: This study aimed to characterize the incidence, clinical characteristics, and electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic features of LVA VA in the absence of CAD and to describe the experience with catheter ablation (CA) in this group.

Background: The left ventricular apex (LVA) is a well-described source of ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and history of apical infarction but is a rare source of VA in the absence of CAD.

Methods: Patients referred for CA of VA at our institution were retrospectively reviewed, and those with LVA VA in the absence of CAD were identified.

Results: Of 3,710 consecutive patients undergoing VA ablation, CA of LVA VA was performed in 24 patients (20 with monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, 4 with premature ventricular contractions or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia; 18 men; mean age: 54 ± 15 years). These cases comprised 10 of 35 (29%) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 9 of 789 (1.2%) nonischemic cardiomyopathy, and 5 of 1,432 (0.4%) idiopathic VA ablation procedures. VA QRS morphology was predominantly right bundle with slurred upstroke and right superior frontal plane axis with precordial transition ≤V3. Epicardial ablation was performed in 14 of 24 (58%). After a median of 1 procedure (range 1 to 4) at this institution and median follow-up of 47 months (range 0-176), VA recurred in 1 patient (4%).

Conclusions: LVA VA in the absence of CAD is unusual and may occur in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or nonischemic cardiomyopathy or, rarely, in the absence of structural heart disease. It can be recognized by characteristic ECG features. CA of LVA VA is challenging; multiple procedures, including epicardial approaches, may be required to achieve VA control over long-term follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.04.021DOI Listing
September 2020

Electrophysiology's Identity Crisis: What our Clinical Trials Do and Do Not Say About Us.

Arrhythm Electrophysiol Rev 2020 Jun;9(1):15-19

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, US.

Although it has not always been this way, the impact of large, randomised clinical trials in electrophysiology is limited, at least compared with other disciplines in cardiology. This has been particularly true regarding procedural aspects of our field: successful randomised trials are rare and observational trials are small and typically without a proper active control group. In this article, the authors examine the reasons behind this circumstance, which include underinvestment from funding sources; lack of consensus on procedural endpoints; lack of consensus on techniques; and a therapeutic bias in favour of procedural intervention that stands in the way of investigator equipoise. Together, these factors have created a scientific culture dominated by small-scale, siloed, observational research and unwillingness to collaboratively advance the field with consensus and prospective trials. The authors feel that it is increasingly urgent to improve the scientific basis for clinical practice and explore strategies to accomplish this goal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15420/aer.2019.21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7330723PMC
June 2020

COVID-19 and cardiac arrhythmias.

Heart Rhythm 2020 Sep 22;17(9):1439-1444. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Early studies suggest that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with a high incidence of cardiac arrhythmias. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection may cause injury to cardiac myocytes and increase arrhythmia risk.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the risk of cardiac arrest and arrhythmias including incident atrial fibrillation (AF), bradyarrhythmias, and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) in a large urban population hospitalized for COVID-19. We also evaluated correlations between the presence of these arrhythmias and mortality.

Methods: We reviewed the characteristics of all patients with COVID-19 admitted to our center over a 9-week period. Throughout hospitalization, we evaluated the incidence of cardiac arrests, arrhythmias, and inpatient mortality. We also used logistic regression to evaluate age, sex, race, body mass index, prevalent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and intensive care unit (ICU) status as potential risk factors for each arrhythmia.

Results: Among 700 patients (mean age 50 ± 18 years; 45% men; 71% African American; 11% received ICU care), there were 9 cardiac arrests, 25 incident AF events, 9 clinically significant bradyarrhythmias, and 10 NSVTs. All cardiac arrests occurred in patients admitted to the ICU. In addition, admission to the ICU was associated with incident AF (odds ratio [OR] 4.68; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66-13.18) and NSVT (OR 8.92; 95% CI 1.73-46.06) after multivariable adjustment. Also, age and incident AF (OR 1.05; 95% CI 1.02-1.09) and prevalent heart failure and bradyarrhythmias (OR 9.75; 95% CI 1.95-48.65) were independently associated. Only cardiac arrests were associated with acute in-hospital mortality.

Conclusion: Cardiac arrests and arrhythmias are likely the consequence of systemic illness and not solely the direct effects of COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.06.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7307518PMC
September 2020

Not so typical: The role of epicardial connections in typical flutter refractory to block across the cavotricuspid isthmus.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 09 2;31(9):2352-2354. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14626DOI Listing
September 2020

Can Anticoagulation Be Stopped After Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation?

Curr Cardiol Rep 2020 06 19;22(8):58. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 9 Founders Pavilion, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Purpose Of Review: This review discusses the pros and cons of discontinuing oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) after catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF), and data from relevant studies, and summarizes the most recent Expert Consensus recommendations on the topic.

Recent Findings: Patients with AF are at risk of cerebrovascular embolic events (CVEs) including stroke and transient ischemic attacks. OAT can be effective in preventing CVEs, while catheter ablation is an effective treatment to eliminate AF. Whether OAT can be safely discontinued after successful AF ablation remains a controversial topic. Retrospective studies have suggested that successful AF ablation may mitigate the risk of CVE such that OAT may be discontinued in select patients after AF ablation. In certain patients with AF who undergo successful AF ablation, OAT might be able to be safely discontinued with continued long-term rhythm monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11886-020-01313-1DOI Listing
June 2020

Risk Stratification of Patients With Apparently Idiopathic Premature Ventricular Contractions: A Multicenter International CMR Registry.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 06 18;6(6):722-735. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, Adelaide, Australia; Cardiac Imaging Unit, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study investigated the prevalence and prognostic significance of concealed myocardial abnormalities identified by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in patients with apparently idiopathic premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).

Background: The role of CMR imaging in patients with frequent PVCs and otherwise negative diagnostic workup is uncertain.

Methods: This was a multicenter, international study that included 518 patients (age 44 ± 15 years; 57% men) with frequent (>1,000/24 h) PVCs and negative routine diagnostic workup. Patients underwent a comprehensive CMR protocol including late gadolinium enhancement imaging for detection of necrosis and/or fibrosis. The study endpoint was a composite of sudden cardiac death, resuscitated cardiac arrest, and nonfatal episodes of ventricular fibrillation or sustained ventricular tachycardia that required appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy.

Results: Myocardial abnormalities were found in 85 (16%) patients. Male gender (odds ratio [OR]: 4.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.06 to 8.93; p = 0.01), family history of sudden cardiac death and/or cardiomyopathy (OR: 3.61; 95% CI: 1.33 to 9.82; p = 0.01), multifocal PVCs (OR: 11.12; 95% CI: 4.35 to 28.46; p < 0.01), and non-left bundle branch block inferior axis morphology (OR: 14.11; 95% CI: 7.35 to 27.07; p < 0.01) were all significantly related to the presence of myocardial abnormalities. After a median follow-up of 67 months, the composite endpoint occurred in 26 (5%) patients. Subjects with myocardial abnormalities on CMR had a higher incidence of the composite outcome (n = 25; 29%) compared with those without abnormalities (n = 1; 0.2%; p < 0.01).

Conclusions: CMR can identify concealed myocardial abnormalities in 16% of patients with apparently idiopathic frequent PVCs. Presence of myocardial abnormalities on CMR predict worse clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.10.015DOI Listing
June 2020

Evaluation of Radiofrequency Ablation Irrigation Type: In Vivo Comparison of Normal Versus Half-Normal Saline Lesion Characteristics.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 06 27;6(6):684-692. Epub 2020 May 27.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objectives: This study investigated the impact of the type of catheter irrigant used during delivery of radiofrequency ablation.

Background: The use of half-normal saline (HNS) as an irrigant has been suggested as a method for increasing ablation lesion size but has not been rigorously studied in the beating heart or the use of a low-flow irrigation catheter.

Methods: Sixteen swine underwent left ventricular mapping and ablation using either normal saline (NS) (group 1: n = 9) or half-normal saline (HNS) (group 2: n = 7). All lesions were delivered using identical parameters (40 W with 10-second ramp, 30-second duration, 15 ml/min flow, and 8- to14-g target contact force). An occurrence of steam pop, catheter char, or thrombus was assessed using intracardiac echocardiography and catheter inspection following each application. Lesion depth, width, and area were measured using electronic calibers.

Results: A total of 109 lesions were delivered in group 1 and 77 in group 2. There were significantly more steam pops in group 2 (32 of 77 [42%] vs. 24 of 109 [22%], respectively). The frequencies of catheter tip char were similar (group 1: 9 of 109 [8%] vs. group 2: 10 of 77 [13%]; p = 0.29). Lesion depths, widths, and areas also were similar in both groups.

Conclusions: The use of an HNS irrigant using a low-flow open irrigated ablation catheter platform results in more tissue heating due to higher radiofrequency current delivery directed to tissue, but this can lead to higher rate of steam pops. In this in vivo porcine beating-heart model, the use of HNS does not appear to significantly increase lesion size in normal myocardium despite evidence of increased radiofrequency heating.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2020.02.013DOI Listing
June 2020

Association of scar distribution with epicardial electrograms and surface ventricular tachycardia QRS duration in nonischemic cardiomyopathy.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 08 24;31(8):2032-2040. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: The association of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) on cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) with epicardial and surface ventricular tachycardia (VT) electrogram features, in nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM), is unknown. We sought to define the association of LGE and viable wall thickness with epicardial electrogram features and exit site paced QRS duration in patients with NICM.

Methods: A total of 19 patients (age 53.5 ± 11.5 years) with NICM (ejection fraction 40.2 ± 13.2%) underwent CMR before VT ablation. LGE transmurality was quantified on CMR and coregistered with 2294 endocardial and 2724 epicardial map points.

Results: Both bipolar and unipolar voltage were associated with transmural signal intensity on CMR. Longer electrogram duration and fractionated potentials were associated with increased LGE transmurality, but late potentials or local abnormal ventricular activity were more prevalent in nontransmural versus transmural LGE regions (p < .05). Of all critical VT sites, 19% were located adjacent to regions with LGE but normal bipolar and unipolar voltage. Exit site QRS duration was affected by LGE transmurality and intramural scar location, but not by wall thickness, at the impulse origin.

Conclusions: In patients with NICM and VT, LGE is associated with epicardial electrogram features and may predict critical VT sites. Additionally, exit site QRS duration is affected by LGE transmurality and intramural location at the impulse origin or exit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14618DOI Listing
August 2020

QRS morphology in lead V for the rapid localization of idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias originating from the left ventricular papillary muscles: A novel electrocardiographic criterion.

Heart Rhythm 2020 10 23;17(10):1711-1718. Epub 2020 May 23.

Electrophysiology Section, Division of Cardiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Twelve-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) criteria have been developed to identify idiopathic ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) from the left ventricular (LV) papillary muscles (PAPs), but accurate localization remains a challenge.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop ECG criteria for accurate localization of LV PAP VAs using lead V exclusively.

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing mapping and ablation of VAs from the LV PAPs guided by intracardiac echocardiography from 2007 to 2018 were reviewed (study group). The QRS morphology in lead V was compared to patients with VAs with a "right bundle branch block" morphology from other LV locations (reference group). Patients with structural heart disease were excluded.

Results: One hundred eleven patients with LV PAP VAs (mean age 54 ± 16 years; 65% men) were identified, including 64 (55%) from the posteromedial PAP and 47 (42%) from the anterolateral PAP. The reference group included patients with VAs from the following LV locations: fascicles (n = 21), outflow tract (n = 36), ostium (n = 37), inferobasal segment (n = 12), and apex (5). PAP VAs showed 3 distinct QRS morphologies in lead V 93% of the time: Rr (53%), R with a slurred downslope (29%), and RR (11%). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for the 3 morphologies combined are 93%, 98%, 98%, and 93%, respectively. The intrinsicoid deflection of PAP VAs in lead V was shorter than that of the reference group (63 ± 13 ms vs 79 ± 24 ms; P < .001). An intrinsicoid deflection time of <74 ms best differentiated the 2 groups (sensitivity 79%; specificity 87%).

Conclusion: VAs originating from the LV PAPs manifest unique QRS morphologies in lead V, which can aid in rapid and accurate localization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.05.021DOI Listing
October 2020

Recurrent Atrial Fibrillation After Radiofrequency Ablation: What to Expect.

Card Electrophysiol Clin 2020 06;12(2):187-197

Cardiovascular Division, Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 9.129 Founders Pavilion, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:

Recurrent atrial fibrillation after radiofrequency ablation is observed in up to 50% of patients within 3 months. Early and multiple recurrences predict late recurrences within 1 year, which occurs in 20% to 50% of patients. Although no consensus exists regarding patient selection and timing of redo ablation, we refer symptomatic patients with multiple recurrences and persistent atrial fibrillation for ablation. Reisolation of reconnected pulmonary veins and ablation of nonpulmonary vein triggers is the primary ablation strategy. In addition to repeat ablation, we recommend weight loss, treatment of sleep-disordered breathing, and management of comorbid conditions for durable maintenance of sinus rhythm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccep.2020.02.003DOI Listing
June 2020

Durability of posterior wall isolation after catheter ablation among patients with recurrent atrial fibrillation.

Heart Rhythm 2020 10 7;17(10):1740-1744. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Section for Cardiac Electrophysiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Electrical posterior wall isolation (PWI) is increasingly being used for the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Few data exist on the durability of PWI using current technology.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to characterize the frequency and location of posterior wall reconnection at the time of repeat catheter ablation for AF.

Methods: We performed a single-center retrospective cohort study of 50 patients undergoing repeat AF ablation after previous PWI. Durability of PWI was assessed at the time of repeat ablation based on posterior wall entrance and exit block. Sites of posterior wall reconnection were characterized based on review of recorded electrical signals and electroanatomic maps.

Results: At the time of repeat ablation, mean age was 67 ± 10 years, 31 of 50 patients had persistent AF, and mean CHADS-VASc score was 3.0 ± 1.8. Of the 50 patients, 30 had durable PWI at repeat ablation, 1.4 ± 1.6 years after the index procedure. Patients with posterior wall reconnection required repeat ablation earlier (0.9 ± 0.6 years vs1.8 ± 1.9 years from index PWI; P = .048) and were more likely to have atypical atrial flutter (55% vs 27%; P = .043). Among patients with posterior wall reconnection, the roof was the most common site of reconnection (14/20), and 12 patients had multiple regions of reconnection noted.

Conclusion: Posterior wall reconnection is noted in 40% of patients undergoing repeat ablation after an index PWI. The roof of the left atrium is the most common site of posterior wall reconnection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.05.005DOI Listing
October 2020

Collateral injury of the conduction system during catheter ablation of septal substrate in nonischemic cardiomyopathy.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 07 5;31(7):1726-1739. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Medicine, Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Introduction: In patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) little is known about the clinical impact of catheter ablation (CA) of septal ventricular tachycardia (VT) resulting in the collateral injury of the conduction system (CICS).

Methods And Results: Ninety-five consecutive patients with NICM underwent CA of septal VT. Outcomes in patients with no baseline conduction abnormalities who developed CICS (group 1, n = 28 [29%]) were compared to patients with no CICS (group 2, n = 17 [18%]) and to patients with preexisting conduction abnormalities or biventricular pacing (group 3, n = 50 [53%]). Group-1 patients were younger, had a higher left ventricular ejection fraction and a lower prevalence of New York Heart Association III/IV class compared to group 3 while no significant differences were observed with group 2. After a median follow-up of 15 months, VT recurred in 14% of patients in group 1, 12% in group 2 (P = .94) and 32% in group 3 (P = .08) while death/transplant occurred in 14% of patients in group 1, 18% in group 2 (P = .69) and 28% in group 3 (P = .15). A worsening of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (median LVEF variation, -5%) was observed in group 1 compared to group 2 (median LVEF variation, 0%; P < .01) but not group-3 patients (median LVEF variation, -4%; P = .08) with a consequent higher need for new biventricular pacing in group 1 (43%) compared to group 2 (12%; P = .03) and group 3 (16%; P < .01).

Conclusions: In patients with NICM and septal substrate, sparing the abnormal substrate harboring the conduction system provides acceptable VT control while preventing a worsening of the systolic function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14498DOI Listing
July 2020

Radiofrequency-Assisted Transseptal Access for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Via a Superior Approach.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 03 29;6(3):272-281. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Division of Cardiology, Electrophysiology Section, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study describes the technique and outcomes of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation via a superior approach in patients with interrupted or absent inferior vena cavas (IVCs).

Background: In patients with interrupted or absent IVCs, transseptal access cannot be obtained via standard femoral venous access. In these patients, alternative strategies are necessary to permit catheter ablation in the left atrium (LA). This study reports on the outcomes of AF ablation from a superior venous access with a radiofrequency (RF)-assisted transseptal puncture (TSP) technique.

Methods: This study identified patients with interrupted or absent IVCs who underwent AF ablation via a superior approach at 2 ablation centers from 2010 to 2019.

Results: Fifteen patients (mean age: 50.8 ± 11.2 years; 10 men; 10 with paroxysmal AF) with interrupted or absent IVCs underwent AF ablation with transseptal access via a superior approach. Successful TSP was performed either with a manually bent RF transseptal needle (early cases: n = 4) or using a RF wire (late cases: n = 11); this approach permitted LA mapping and ablation in all patients. Mean time required to perform single (n = 8) or double (n = 7) TSP was 16.1 ± 4.8 min, and mean total procedure time was 227.9 ± 120.7 min (fluoroscopy time: 57.0 ± 28.5 min). LA mapping and ablation were successfully performed in all patients.

Conclusions: In patients with AF undergoing catheter ablation and who had a standard transseptal approach via femoral venous approach is impossible due to anatomic constraints, RF-assisted transseptal access via a superior approach can be an effective alternative strategy to permit LA mapping and ablation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.10.019DOI Listing
March 2020

Clinical and procedural characteristics predicting need for chronotropic support and permanent pacing post-heart transplantation.

Heart Rhythm 2020 07 27;17(7):1132-1138. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Cardiac Electrophysiology, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Postoperative bradycardia can complicate orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT). Previous studies suggested donor age and surgical technique as possible risk factors. However, risk factors in the era of bicaval anastomosis have not been elucidated.

Objective: We sought to examine the association between donor/recipient characteristics with need for chronotropic support and permanent pacemaker (PPM) implantation in patients with OHT.

Methods: All patients treated with OHT between January 2003 and January 2018 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania were retrospectively evaluated until June 2018. Chronotropic support was given upon postoperative inability to increase the heart rate to patient's demands and included disproportionate bradycardia and junctional rhythm.

Results: A total of 820 patients (mean age 51.3 ± 12.6 years; 607, 74% men) underwent 826 OHT procedures (787 patients, 95.3% bicaval anastomosis). Patients who were exposed to amiodarone (odds ratio [OR] 2.30; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.58-3.34; P < .001) and have older donor (OR 1.02; 95% CI 1.01-1.04; P = .001) were more likely to develop need for chronotropic support. In multivariable analysis, recipient age (OR 1.03; 95% CI 1.00-1.06; P = .04) and biatrial anastomosis (OR 6.12; 95% CI 2.48-15.09) were significantly associated with PPM implantation within 6 months of OHT. No association was found between pre-OHT amiodarone use and PPM implantation. No risk factors assessed were associated with PPM implantation 6 months post-OHT.

Conclusion: Surgical technique and donor age were the main risk factors for the need for chronotropic support post-OHT, whereas surgical technique and recipient age were risk factors for early PPM implantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.02.021DOI Listing
July 2020

Non-Scar-Related and Purkinje-Related Ventricular Tachycardia in Patients With Structural Heart Disease: Prevalence, Mapping Features, and Clinical Outcomes.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2020 02 18;6(2):231-240. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Electrophysiology Section, Cardiovascular, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the prevalence, mapping features, and ablation outcomes of non-scar-related ventricular tachycardia (NonScar-VT) and Purkinje-related VT (Purkinje-VT) in patients with structural heart disease.

Background: VT in structural heart disease is typically associated with scar-related myocardial re-entry. NonScar-VTs arising from areas of normal myocardium or Purkinje-VTs originating from the conduction system are less common.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 690 patients with structural heart disease who underwent VT ablation between 2013 and 2017.

Results: A total of 37 (5.4%) patients (16 [43%] with ischemic cardiomyopathy, 16 [43%] with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, and 5 [14%] others) demonstrated NonScar/Purkinje-VTs, which represented the clinical VT in 76% of cases. Among the 37 VTs, 31 (84%) were Purkinje-VTs (28 bundle branch re-entrant VT). The remaining 6 (16%) VTs were NonScar-VTs and included 4 idiopathic outflow tract VTs. A total of 16 patients had prior history of VT ablations: empirical scar substrate modification was performed in 6 (38%) patients and residual inducibility of VT had not been assessed in 7 (44%). In all 37 patients, the NonScar/Purkinje-VT was successfully ablated. After a median follow-up of 18 months, the targeted NonScar/Purkinje-VT did not recur in any patients, and 28 (76%) of patients were free from any recurrent VT episodes.

Conclusions: NonScar/Purkinje-VTs can be identified in 5.4% of patients undergoing VT ablation in the setting of structural heart disease. Careful effort to induce, characterize, and map these VTs is important because substrate-based ablation strategies would fail to eliminate these types of VT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2019.09.014DOI Listing
February 2020