Intracoronary ethanol ablation for the treatment of recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia

Academic Article


  • The selective infusion of ethanol into the coronary circulation supplying the site of origin of incessant ventricular tachycardia has been demonstrated to abolish this arrhythmia in selected patients. The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the intracoronary ethanol ablation technique in patients with paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia related to prior myocardial infarction. Twenty-three patients with sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia that was refractory to conventional antiarrhythmic drug therapy were prospectively studied. After induction of ventricular tachycardia by programmed electrical stimulation, the response of the arrhythmia to the infusion of radiographic contrast medium or saline solution into the ostia of the native coronary arteries and coronary artery bypass grafts was assessed. If ventricular tachycardia was reliably interrupted by injections into the proximal coronary artery or bypass graft, the vessel was cannulated with a steerable guide wire and 2.7F infusion catheter to determine the smallest arterial branch that would result in termination of the arrhythmia with selective injections. If reliable interruption of ventricular tachycardia was observed with saline or contrast injections, ethanol (2 ml) was then delivered through the infusion catheter. Ventricular tachycardia could be terminated by injections of saline solution or contrast medium in 11 of 21 patients in whom the protocol could be completed. Ethanol was infused in 10 of these patients. Ventricular tachycardia was inducible in only 1 of 10 patients immediately after ethanol infusion. At a follow-up electrophysiologic study performed 5 to 7 days after ablation, ventricular tachycardia became inducible in two other patients, in one of whom the arrhythmia substrate was successfully ablated after three sessions. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 0.33 ± 0.1 before and 0.35 ± 0.11 after ablation. Complications of the procedure included complete atrioventricular block in four patients and pericarditis in one patient. Thus, intracoronary ethanol ablation is associated with a moderate degree of efficacy but the potential for important complications. Despite these limitations, this technique may provide effective long-term control of ventricular tachycardia for some patients. © 1992.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kay GN; Epstein AE; Bubien RS; Anderson PG; Dailey SM; Plumb VJ
  • Start Page

  • 159
  • End Page

  • 168
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 1