Epicardial/endocardial sinus node ablation after failed endocardial ablation for the treatment of inappropriate sinus tachycardia

Jason T. Jacobson, Alexandria Kraus, Richard Lee, Jeffrey J. Goldberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Introduction Success of endocardial sinus node (SN) ablation for refractory inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) is limited by the epicardial location of the SN and potential damage to the phrenic nerve (PN). An epicardial approach may overcome these limitations. Methods and Results IST patients who failed endocardial ablation underwent an epicardial approach. Percutaneous pericardial access was obtained with a double wire technique for PN protection (i.e., with a balloon catheter), if needed. Earliest sinus activation was mapped and ablated with remapping for changes in P-wave morphology or sinus rate. The endpoint was total SN ablation (patients with atrial pacing [AP]); otherwise the target was a >25% decrease in sinus rate and inversion of P-wave axis. Five patients (all female, age 36 ± 4 years) underwent ablation. Two had prior AP, and 1 elected to have SN ablation and pacemaker during the same procedure. Three had prior endocardial ablation limited by PN proximity. Baseline sinus rate was 119 ± 20 bpm. After 35.2 ± 21.3 lesions (22.4 ± 21.7 epicardial, 12.8 ± 21.3 endocardial), 4 were in junctional rhythm, 1 in atrial rhythm at 90 bpm. This latter patient had symptom recurrence and underwent combined minimally invasive surgical/catheter SN cryoablation. Atrial tachycardia subsequently occurred and was successfully ablated. The only significant complication was pericarditis (3 patients). At last follow-up (30.4 ± 18.4 months), all had symptom resolution. Two were AP >99%, 1 was AP 54%. Two remain in ectopic atrial rhythm with controlled rates. Conclusions Combined epicardial/endocardial SN ablation is a viable approach for patients with severely symptomatic IST after a failed endocardial attempt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • catheter ablation
  • epicardial ablation
  • inappropriate sinus tachycardia
  • mapping
  • phrenic nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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