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Circulation. 2004 Apr 20;109(15):1826-33. Epub 2004 Mar 29.

Left cardiac sympathetic denervation in the management of high-risk patients affected by the long-QT syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Lung, Blood and Heart, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



The management of long-QT syndrome (LQTS) patients who continue to have cardiac events (CEs) despite beta-blockers is complex. We assessed the long-term efficacy of left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD) in a group of high-risk patients.


We identified 147 LQTS patients who underwent LCSD. Their QT interval was very prolonged (QTc, 543+/-65 ms); 99% were symptomatic; 48% had a cardiac arrest; and 75% of those treated with beta-blockers remained symptomatic. The average follow-up periods between first CE and LCSD and post-LCSD were 4.6 and 7.8 years, respectively. After LCSD, 46% remained asymptomatic. Syncope occurred in 31%, aborted cardiac arrest in 16%, and sudden death in 7%. The mean yearly number of CEs per patient dropped by 91% (P<0.001). Among 74 patients with only syncope before LCSD, all types of CEs decreased significantly as in the entire group, and a post-LCSD QTc <500 ms predicted very low risk. The percentage of patients with >5 CEs declined from 55% to 8% (P<0.001). In 5 patients with preoperative implantable defibrillator and multiple discharges, the post-LCSD count of shocks decreased by 95% (P=0.02) from a median number of 25 to 0 per patient. Among 51 genotyped patients, LCSD appeared more effective in LQT1 and LQT3 patients.


LCSD is associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of aborted cardiac arrest and syncope in high-risk LQTS patients when compared with pre-LCSD events. However, LCSD is not entirely effective in preventing cardiac events including sudden cardiac death during long-term follow-up. LCSD should be considered in patients with recurrent syncope despite beta-blockade and in patients who experience arrhythmia storms with an implanted defibrillator.

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