Minimally-Invasive Cardiac Sympathetic Denervation Helps Children with Refractory Ventricular Arrhythmias

Released: 1-May-2013 7:00 AM EDT
Embargo expired: 7-May-2013 3:20 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS)
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Citations 93rd AATS Annual Meeting 2013

Arrhythmias Gone in Majority of Children, Says Study to Be Reported at 93rd AATS Annual Meeting

Newswise — Minneapolis, MN, May 7, 2013 - Inherited ventricular arrhythmias are an important cause of morbidity and sudden cardiac death in children who have structurally normal hearts. Despite conventional medical therapy, some of these children remain symptomatic with recurrent life-threatening arrhythmias, syncope, or frequent discharges from implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Video-assisted thoracoscopic left cardiac sympathetic denervation (VATS-LCSD) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help many of these children with refractory cardiac arrhythmias. The results of a single-center experience with VATS-LCSD will be presented during the Congenital Heart Disease Session of the 93rd AATS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis by Dr. Sophie C. Hofferberth, MBBS.

“Existing treatments for inherited arrhythmias are often poorly tolerated or leave patients with ongoing symptoms and risk of sudden death. We have shown that VATS-LCSD is safe and should be considered as part of the treatment approach in all patients with ventricular arrhythmias,” comments lead investigator Dr.Francis Fynn-Thompson, who is affiliated with the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.

This was a retrospective study of 24 patients who had undergone VATS-LCSD between August 2005 and December 2011. Of the 24 patients, 13 presented with congenital Long QT syndrome (LQTS), 9 with catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), and 2 with idiopathic recalcitrant ventricular tachycardia (VT). Eight patients also were implanted with an ICD device at the same time as undergoing the sympathetic denervation.

Almost three-quarters of symptomatic patients responded well to the treatment, and 55% of 22 patients became arrhythmia-free after sympathectomy. Good results were found in patients who were treated after experiencing multiple ICD discharges despite optimal medical therapy and those who had persistent symptoms despite medical therapy.

For patients who were unable to tolerate medical therapy, three of four showed excellent improvement. “Adjunctive VATS-LCSD appears to be a promising strategy for this subgroup of patients to be maintained at a lower medication dose and still remain symptom-free.” In fact, anti-arrhythmic medications may be discontinued entirely for some patients after the procedure, says Dr. Fynn-Thompson.

Two patients underwent the procedure because they were at high risk of developing fatal arrhythmias. These children did not benefit from the procedure, and the authors believe it should not be used as a prophylactic measure.

Postoperative complications were minor. Eleven patients were initially managed in the ICU, and children generally left the hospital within 1-2 days.

# # #

NOTES FOR EDITORS
“Left Thoracoscopic Sympathectomy for Cardiac Denervation in Children with Life-Threatening Ventricular Arrhythmias,” by Sophie C Hofferberth, Frank Cecchin, Dan Loberman, Francis Fynn-Thompson. Presentation at the 93rd AATS Annual Meeting. May 4-8, 2013. Minneapolis, MN, during the Congenital Heart Disease Session on May 7, 2:20 PM CT. http://aats.org/annualmeeting/

For more information contact Nicole Baritot, Associate Managing Editor, AATS Scientific Publications, at +1 978-299-4520 or press@aats.org. Journalists wishing to interview Dr. Fynn-Thompson may contact him directly at 857 891 7648 or Francis.Fynn-Thompson@CARDIO.CHBOSTON.ORG.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sophie C Hofferberth, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MA
Frank Cecchin, Department of Cardiology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MA
Dan Loberman, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MA
Francis Fynn-Thompson, Department of Cardiac Surgery., Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MA

ABOUT THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THORACIC SURGERY (AATS)
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) is an international organization of over 1,300 of the world’s foremost thoracic and cardiothoracic surgeons, representing 35 countries. AATS encourages and stimulates education and investigation into the areas of intrathoracic physiology, pathology and therapy. Founded in 1917 by a respected group of the last century’s earliest pioneers in the field of thoracic surgery, the AATS’ original mission was to “foster the evolution of an interest in surgery of the Thorax.”

One hundred years later, the AATS continues to be the premiere association among cardiothoracic surgeons. The purpose of the Association is the continual enhancement of the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest level of quality patient care. To this end, the AATS encourages, promotes, and stimulates the scientific investigation and study of cardiothoracic surgery. Visit www.aats.org.


Comment/Share